Oops, I forgot. Oh, I meant to do that, but it slipped my mind. Doggone it; I totally spaced that one. Ugh!
Any of these sound familiar? I’m known for having a good memory, but I get frustrated because sometimes I remember the most mundane details and forget the most important tasks. At times, it feels as if my mind is so full of things to remember that it just has to let some of its content fall out to make more room. It’s like those days when you head to a certain room with a certain task in mind, and when you get there, you stand in the middle of the room just hoping you’ll remember why you’re there. Oh well, a little extra exercise was good for you, right?
In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 8:11 through Deuteronomy 9:3, Moses gives the community of Israel some important things to remember, and some extremely good reasons to remember them. He begins by telling them to be careful not to forget The Lord. How could they forget Him? By not following the laws and rules (mitzvot–Hebrew plural for laws) Moses is passing along to them from God.
Moses tells Israel that if they forget God, they will become arrogant. They will live in fine houses, eat and be filled, and have plenty of cattle and flocks, and they will forget Who made it possible for them to have all their goodies. They will start thinking that they gained all their wealth by the power of their own hands when it was God who gave them the ability to earn the wealth and to live comfortably. The Lord is giving them all they will have in order to keep the promise He swore to their ancestors, but pride and self-reliance will make them forget–and with dire consequences.
Moses tells Israel that if they forget The Lord and go after other gods to serve and worship them, they will perish the same way the nations are perishing that God is driving out before Israel’s eyes. Like the other nations, Israel will suffer for not acknowledging Yahveh Almighty as their Creator and Provider, especially after all Israel has seen Him do since He brought them out of Egypt.
The Scripture here reads as if Moses is shouting, “Listen up, Israel! Today is the day of your salvation!” He tells them that on this day, they will cross the Jordan River and go into the new land to dispossess nations bigger and greater than themselves. With all that’s at stake, Moses wants to make sure Israel pays attention and remembers that God Himself is going over the Jordan before them, and He is marching through their new land as a consuming fire to drive out the current inhabitants and make the land ready for His chosen people.
Maybe there’s no comparison here to forgetting why you just walked into the kitchen, but there is a comparison to forgetting who your Provider is as you consume the generous blessings He showers on you. That kind of forgetfulness is arrogant and prideful. And, since pride goes before destruction, it’s not a place we want to be. Whether a blessing has come to us by the power of our hard work, or it has shown up in some miraculous gesture or gift, the source is still Yahveh Almighty, the Father of Lights from whom comes EVERY good and perfect gift that enters our lives.
As I read this portion, I thought of those who try to work or will good into their lives by way of deeds or rituals. Even if they give God the credit in the end, if people think they can pray certain words or perform some ritual behaviors in order to get God to answer them, they are taking credit for something that is beyond their abilities. God doesn’t tell us to ask for our needs because it is necessary for Him, but He tells us we have not because we ask not to increase our faith in how important we are to Him. He wants us to know that He is listening and paying attention to even the smallest details in our lives.
We must not forget to remember that God is God and we are not. Sometimes God says, “No,” but only because He knows there is something better in our future. God is more interested in our faithful obedience to Him than in any work or deed we might do to “win His approval.” God is our Provider, God loves us, God wants to give us good things, and God desires to communicate both ways with us. I think of it like this: It’s all about God, and it’s not about me–except to God.
Also don’t forget to remember: God will not be manipulated, so whether it’s by our sacrifice in a fast, or our pious position in a prayer, our gifts to God should be without strings attached. What we do in words and deeds is to change us, not God. We should give what we give to Him out of thanksgiving and humility for what He has already done, and out of an obedient spirit that yields to His leading for what He wants us to do through Him. In that way, we will not forget to remember who we are in Him, who He is to us, and who we are together with Him.
Amen, and blessings on your week ahead.
- Current Events
- LCW for Edits
- About Writing
- Bible Study
- Fun & Flourishing Friday
- Lyrics and Song
- Musably Monday
- Sabbatically Saturday
- School of Christ
- Serendipitously Sunday
- Slice of Life
- Tech Time Tuesday
- Theologically Thursday
- TV and Movies
- Wordy Winsome Wednesday