Monday, January 4, 2010

Hebrew Mnemonic #5: Ken forgets this word.

Ya know how in the little side bar over to the right, it says that Ken has forgotten far too much Hebrew? I think he had a particular word in mind when he wrote that. Because there was this one certain word, and no matter how many times we reviewed it, Ken always forgot what it meant. The word is shakah. And it means 'to forget.'

At first we had some lame mnemonic for this word somehow involving 'Chicago,' but I don't remember exactly how it worked. And it certainly never worked for Ken! I remember many times prompting Ken during a review session, only to have him throw up his hands in despair, "I don't know... to remember? to forget? Chicago?" The irony of it all was not lost on Ken. But the meaning of the word was.

The densest concentration of shakah in the OT occurs in Psalm 119. Nine times David declares that he will not forget God's law, or his statutes, or his ordinances, etc. He will not forget God's commands because they are his delight (v. 16), his life (v. 93), and his comfort (v. 141).

I remember a number of times when I was younger when someone, usually myself or a friend, would try to beg out of a punishment by claiming forgetfulness. "Sorry Dad, I forgot." How could Dad possibly punish me? I didn't mean to not mow the lawn, I just forgot.

King David would not have suffered such nonsense (neither did my Dad). Because in the Bible, remembering and forgetting are moral matters. Israel was repeatedly charged with remembering the law of God, because without such communal memory, they were no different from any of the other nations. Moreover, remembering and forgetting are not just things you do with your brain, but you do them with your life. Obeying is a form of remembering, and sinning a varietal of forgetfulness.
Deuteronomy 8:11 - Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today.

Forgetting the meaning of a Hebrew word is one thing; but forgetting the Lord your God is another matter all together. So its no surprise that God has provided some real life mnemonics for his people. Yesterday in church we partook of the Lord's Supper. Handling the bread in our hands and tasting the grape juice on our tongues are physical reminders of all our Lord has done for us. It is a proclamation of the Lord's death, both to ourselves and to the watching world. We eat, lest we forget the the Lord has redeemed us to be his special possession.

The love of Christ is our delight, our life, and our comfort. And we must take heed to ourselves, lest we forget, and be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Ken responds.

Ahh yes, I remember this well. In fact, that's the problem. Our mnemonic was "Don't forget Chicago" and was always followed up with an endorsement of the Cubs by Jeff. The problem was, well, first, that I just didn't remember the mnemonic. But second, if I remembered anything it was the word "remember" (given that "don't forget" actually means "to remember").

Sadly, I can also fail to remember the lessons (or commands) of the Lord. Hopefully this post will help me to remember... or to not forget... whichever it was...