But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more." But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause. (Jeremiah 11:19-20)The people of Jeremiah's home town, Anathoth, have conspired against him. They do not like his message from the Lord and have planned to kill him, so that "his name be remembered no more."
It's a futile scheme ultimately. Jeremiah will continue in faithful ministry for many more years and the people of his home town will die in the warfare and famine that will come when the Babylonians invade the land.
I have often thought one of the worse things that can happen to a person is to pass away and be forgotten. It's bad enough when people don't know you or can't remember your name, or don't recognize you or have never heard of you before. At such times you feel small and insignificant. But to be cut off from life and your name and memory never comes up in anybody's thoughts or discussion. To have people go on with life and never give you another thought. Don't we all want to be remembered?
So, one reason death is so formidable is that it cuts us off from the land where life and community and memories take place. The key of course is the truth in Psalm 115:12... "The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us..." If we are remembered (that is, known) by him, he will see to it that life and remembrance and good thoughts about us will always continue.
Jeremiah was a case in point. I know nothing about the people of his home town, Anathoth -- no names, no memories, no nothing. But here I am reading Jeremiah's writings 2,500 years later! I know his name. I know his story. I read his messages. I see his heart. God saw to it that he would be remembered.
God would say through Jeremiah these words, that promise us a future (29:11)... "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Remember us, Lord, and cause us to be remembered!