Remember and proclaim.
Throughout Scripture, we are instructed to recall the ways God has acted on our behalf, and to share those stories of triumph and truth with others, with the next generation of believers (Psalm 145:4). The Israelites’ exodus out of slavery from Egypt? Remember and proclaim (Psalm 105:1–5). The taking of the eucharist? An act of remembering Christ’s life, death, and resurrection—all on our behalf—and proclaiming the infinite gift and power in them for those who believe in the risen Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23–26).
So it is in today’s reading of Psalm 145, “a hymn of praise,” attributed to King David, who determines to “exalt, “bless,” and “praise [God’s] name forever and ever” (vv.1–2). Not only will he declare God’s praises, but from one generation to the next, God’s works and acts, His character, power, and righteousness, will be declared (vv.3–5). But in order for that to happen, God’s “awe-inspiring acts” and faithful love must first be remembered.
There is power in saying something out loud, in speaking truth to ourselves and to one another. Researchers in the worlds of education and psychology call this “the production effect.” Studies have shown that memory is improved by literally speaking aloud what we’re reading, thinking, and studying. The actual retrieval and recall of both past and new experiences, and the relaying of them to someone else further works to etch our experiences and knowledge into our minds. In short, if you really want to remember something, tell someone else about it. It’s incredible to think that God would design us this way, to further draw us into community to speak truth to one another (Ephesians 5:19–20).
The Hebrew word for “remember” is zakar, and it encompasses more than simply “thinking” or knowledge—it implies action. And in Hebrew tradition, practicing faith in present circumstances and exhibiting hope for the future requires that you remember God’s faithfulness in the past. What better way to remind ourselves of God’s power and steadfast love than to share our experiences with God with someone else? In looking back at God’s “great goodness and righteousness” in our own lives and in the lives of those we read about in Scripture, we are reminded that He provides what we need “at the proper time” and “[satisfies] the desire of every living thing” (vv.15–16).
Verse 20 tells us when we call out to God, He is near. However, His nearness is in no way dependent upon our crying out to Him. No, He is always near, always present. When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:8). He does not need an invitation to come to us, but in our calling out to Him, we remember that He is, in fact, a very real and present help (Psalm 46:1). Our mighty, compassionate God is delighted to be in our midst now and always (Zephaniah 3:17; Matthew 28:20). Sometimes we forget this truth, and sometimes we struggle to believe it’s true. Either way, God does not change.