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Not Forgotten
(June 9, 2004)

      By Fern Horst

"Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place." (2 Samuel 18:18)

I'd never really noticed this verse before, at least not that I remember. But this past week it stood out to me. It reminded me again of how important it was to men during Old Testament times to have a son. They believed that a man lived on through his name, which was then passed on from son to son. If a man had no son he was "cut off out of the land of the living," as Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, indicating that he would have no biological son.

Another single man of the Bible, Jeremiah, said something similar about his enemies' intentions to kill him:

"But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered." (Jeremiah 11:19)

Knowing that Jeremiah had no son his enemies knew that in killing him they would not only destroy his life and put an end to his prophesying, but they would also "cut him off from the land of the living." No worse disgrace could befall a man during that time.

When Absalom had no son, he became concerned that his name would be forgotten. He then built a monument for himself so that no one would forget him. In many ways this shows Absalom's shallowness and lack of purpose. In contrast, Jeremiah's life shows a passion and determination to deliver God's message. We have no indication that he was concerned about being remembered to future generations. Ironically, Jeremiah has been remembered far more than his enemies who intended to shame him by cutting off his name from future generations. And he is remembered because he lived out God's plan for him, and was obedient to God's calling on his life.

What are we depending on to keep our name rememberd by future generations? If our concern is primarily that we aren't forgotten, as Absalom's was; or if we are relying on having children to keep our memory alive, as Jeremiah's enemies did; then our lives lack the sense of purpose and passion for which God created us.

Our purpose is to be an instrument in God's hands, allowing Him to use us as He wants to in order to further His Kingdom and bring glory to Him. Our lives are not about us. Our lives are not about being remembered by future generations. Our lives are about being sold out to our Lord Jesus Christ for His service. Though all others forget us, our Lord will remember us for all eternity because we yielded our lives to Him. And that's what matters above everything else.

"And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had." (Luke 21:1-4)

© 2004 Fern Horst

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