October 11, 2023

Remember the Lord Your God

Prayer for Illumination

I rejoice in following Your statues as one rejoices in great riches. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word for they are my counselors. My soul is consumed with longing for Your laws at all times. Ps 119. Amen.

Have you noticed how difficult it is to remember someone’s name when you first meet them? Within seconds of a person telling me their name, I’ve forgotten what they said. I may have even said aloud, “Great to meet you, Sean.” Seconds later, Wait, what was his name again? That is why I need Tom Wagner right beside me at the door.

When God deals with the people of Israel throughout the Old Testament, God does not merely say, “This is God.” Rather, He often had to introduce Himself, “This is the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt.” It is a reminder, to forgetful people (which we all are), what it is that God has done for us.

Today’s text is from Deuteronomy. After the Israelites were set free from slavery in Egypt, they came to Mt. Sinai where God gave them the Ten Commandments and the law. However, for their disobedience to God and unbelief of God’s promise, they couldn’t enter the land of Canaan, and instead, they had to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years.

During those years, all the first generation except Caleb and Joshua, died off. And now the 2nd generation is standing on the borders of Canaan and about to enter the Promised Land.

Moses has gathered the people together to give them what you might call his ‘Last Will and Testament’ before they enter a land flowing with milk and honey, “a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills''. In this chapter, he especially pleads with them one thing - Remember the Lord your God.

V 10, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” The Israelites were living in the wilderness for the past 40 years. They didn’t have permanent houses, no fresh fruits, no fresh streams of water. Everything was scarce; however, their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell and they never starved during those 40 years.

V 15, “He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness.”

Soon, they will go into a new land that overflows with many good things. Moses warns them, “Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God” who has given you the land and everything in it.

When we need something, we earnestly pray to God to provide it, and then once we have it, we forget that it was God who provided it. That’s us - we are so forgetful. When we are full and satisfied, when we have enough, when it seems all good, we forget the ONE who provides all our needs.

We live in one of the best countries in the world. Even though the cost of living crisis makes us anxious, we cannot deny that we are so blessed with so many things. In this prosperous life, the danger of what Moses calls ‘Forgetting the Lord your God’ is very real. We can get so self-satisfied with our prosperous lifestyle that we lose all sense of need for God at all.

We can look around at our luxuries and say to ourselves, “I did all this. I worked so hard, so diligently to accomplish everything I own.”

Moses warns us, “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”

Remember that it is God who has given us everything - spouse, children, grandchildren, house, friends, neighbors, car, business, job, health, skills, and strength - you count them. You came into the world naked. So what you have now is all given by God.

I know that some of us are going through a very challenging time. Maybe you feel like you are walking in the endless wilderness now. However, even in the seemingly hopeless situation, see God who is walking with you night and day as the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. He brings you to an oasis to find a rest. And HE will guide you to the end of the wilderness.

Brothers and sisters, a great way to keep going forward is to take some time to look back and see what God has done. Do not forget how God has been faithful to you.

See how you are surrounded by good brothers and sisters in Christ. See how your cupboard, fridge, and closet are full. See how the Lord your God saved you through Christ and has given you a new life. See how blessed you are.

Remember the Lord your God and how He has been to you. And remain faithful to your God. He is good! All the time!

Let us pray.

Father God, we think back to what You’ve done to us and in us and through us. You saved us through Jesus Christ Your Son and lavished on us many blessings. We Thank You and we praise You for everything. We bless Your Holy Name. In the name of Jesus our Redeemer, we pray. Amen.