Do Not Forget the God Who Saves You (Isaiah 17:10)

"You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress…" (Isaiah 17:10a).

"Forgotten" and "not remembered" (Ps 78:11, 42) refer to the failure to keep the mind fixed on God. What does it mean to keep the mind fixed on God? In the theology of Deuteronomy, remembering and forgetting form a fundamental concept (Dt 8:11-20; 8, 19-20). What is in view is not primarily a mental activity, although it does involve such activity. Rather, remembering is a mental activity which issues in certain kinds of behavior. Conversely, the absence of corresponding behavior negates any claimed mental activity. Thus, one cannot claim to know God if their life and behavior does not reflect it.

One who remembers acts accordingly. God wants his people to recall his unique, never-to-be-repeated acts on their behalf with the result that their present actions will be in keeping with his character. If their present actions are not of such a nature, then they do not truly remember who God is and what God has done.

Thinking you remember God when you're not. If God has touched my life, yet my life is not different, then I have not perceived the implications of that touch; it is in fact void of significance (1 Cor 11:24-29; Gal 3:1-5). Thus, the Israelites may well have continued to look to Yahweh as their national god. They probably continued to see themselves as being faithful to God and orthodox, even while assimilating idolatry and paganism into their faith. Though they claimed to be the people of God they were not trusting God, for they were trusting in their idols and other nations for their security.

"Salvation" is not an occasional act but an attribute of God. "God your Savior" is "the God of your salvation." He is a "saving God," "your saving God." God's people (Israel) could never say, "Ah, but he will not save (me / us) now," for God is ever the saving God and "your saving God." God is never not saving us, unless we refuse to trust him to do so, by making our own plans and insisting on our own schemes.

Rock is a dynamic metaphor, not static, providing fortress-like protection. In the OT, "rock" is not just a broad symbol for divine strength, durability, etc (Dt 32:4, 15, 18, 30-31; 1 Sa 2:2; Ps 19:14; 28:1; 62:2, 6; 78:35; 95:1). It's link with salvation indicates that it is not a static but a dynamic metaphor. Its origin is from Exodus 17 regarding the provident rock from which the saving waters flowed (Ex 17:6). The Lord as Rock is the Lord in his dependable, saving actions, providing the fortress-like protection which his people need in a menacing world.

"Fortress" is "place of strength." It is the same word as in "strong cities" in Isa 17:9. Thus, Isaiah insists that the way of faith is the way of true realism in this world.