Deuteronomy Part Two: Dive
6 THINGS YOU MUST NEVER FORGET
When you are reading Deuteronomy, over and over again you hear this heartbreaking declaration, it is a prophetic declaration, it’s pleading with the people, and it’s heartbreaking. God knows the keys to which this nation is going to walk away from him and in Deuteronomy he tries over and over again to stop them from doing it.
The word remember happens 16 times in this book. And as you read it as one book you can hear the heartache of God and Moses as his messenger. Don’t forget what he did, don’t forget what he has done, don’t forget he is the Lord. This is foundational in the lives of the Israelites as they enter the promised land. They are about to have their prayers answered; they are about to walk in the land that they have been waiting for, for hundreds of years. They are about to get the very thing they had been desiring, and God keeps reminding them, don’t forget me!
This is heartbreaking. How easy it is to forget God when everything is going right, how easy it is to forget him when life's going well and you are walking in the promised land. You are only in the promised land because he set you free from Egypt, he walked with you and provided for you in the wilderness, he gave you the victory to take the promised land but you got comfortable and you forgot that God did all of this for you.
As we go through the remember scriptures let this renew your heart to God, the one who got you here and let it be a warning that when we ‘have arrived’ we have to constantly remember who walked us into our promised land. Loyalty is not a big thing now days but in my mind and in my life loyalty is everything, we are called to be loyal to those who were loyal to us. Actually, we are called to be loyal to those who have not been loyal to us, but that is another subject.
I am so grateful for the people in my life that walked with me through some of the worst and hardest moments of my life. Some people ask me why I am so close to my best friend, and my only answer is that I will never forget what she did for me in the times when I couldn’t get out of bed due to depression. She would come in each day and drag me out and remind me that this was going to get better and that I was going to get through this. I will never forget the presence of God in my room that never left me when I was in the blackest place. When I was sure that the darkness was going to consume me and then the presence of the Holy Spirit would invade my darkness and speak hope and life over me. I will never forget the one’s who carried me out of my darkness. So now I am better, set free and living a life that I only dreamt of, I will never forget the people and my God who saved me.
Before we jump into what they are called to remember we need to take note of a couple of things. Firstly, Moses and God talks to the people and reminds them as though they were the people who did the act but remember the people that walked in the wilderness and did all of these things that they are talking about died in the wilderness, this is the next generation. So this passionate plea comes to remembering the sins of their fathers and ensuring that they don’t make the same mistakes. He does however speak to them as though they are the generation that did it, meaning these faults were the responsibility of the nation of Israel and it was their responsibility not to let these things happen again in their generation.
Secondly, take note of where they are called to remember it. Did you notice that God reminded them to not forget while they were still in the wilderness? Why do you think he wanted them to stop before going into the promised land and remember? I think he knew that once all their dreams came true, once they were conquering cities and walking in victory in the promised land, once they had ‘success’ they would quickly forget him and all he had done. So he was warning them while the feeling of failure was fresh, while they were still in the wilderness, while they could put a memory stamp on the moment and say remember this and never forget how you feel right now. Be grateful to God that he is going to get you out of this and never forget what it feels like to be in the wilderness.
When I was travelling we went to a prisoner of war camp and the guide who was with us made us pick up two rocks at the front gate. She said to hold the rocks in our hands as we walked around the horrific place and then as we left we took the rocks and said a prayer for the people that died in that place. We put one rock back on the ground for another person to collect and we kept the other rock so we would remember to do two things: Firstly to never let this happen again in our generation and secondly to remember this place and to be eternally grateful for life and freedom. I still have my rock on my bookshelf and I will always remember that feeling, freezing in that camp with my nice puffy snow jacket on while those prisoners died in the freezing conditions and inhumane circumstances.
You don’t have to go back to being bound to remember what God did for you, but as we enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (Psalm 100:4), be grateful every day for who he is, where he has brought you from, what he has done and what he is about to do. Looking back is not to just remember the pain or the grief but in gratefulness to God for walking us through.
So let’s look at what the Israelites were called to remember, grab your Bible.
4:10 Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
1. Remember when you first encountered God – I love this scripture as it brings up so many images and memories for the Israelites – this encounter moment was the point where they saw God on the mountain and he gave them the instructions and he spoke out of the fire. He is calling them to remember the power of God in their first encounter with him when they were scared and asked Moses to go and commune with God on their behalf. They had an encounter of his holiness, his power and his supremacy. Never forget your first encounter with God and the awe that it filled you with.
5:15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
2. Remember where you came from and who saved you – Again this is such an incredible reminder to myself to remember where God saved me from. Remember how far you have come. Some-times we are so focused on how far we want to go that we forget to look behind us and honor God for how far he has brought us. How far we have come, carried on the grace and gift of God.
7:18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt
3.Remember who your God is – this is God saying don’t let any enemy make you afraid for I rescued you from Pharaoh. As we remember all that God has done for us we are not intimidated by the enemy in fear. We have almighty God on our side and he has shown himself all-powerful.
8:2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
4. Remember God has provided and will provide – this is as plain as it comes, God got you through 40 years in the wilderness and provided for you food and shoes that didn’t wear out. He reminds them that he led them and provided for them in the wilderness and then reminds them to stay humble, for that was what God was doing in you the whole time.
8:18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
5. This one for me sums up the cry of God’s heart in Deuteronomy. Remember the Lord your God, it is him who gives the ability to produce wealth. I love this, he is saying when you have everything, remember who gave you the ability to get wealth. Remember who walked with you and provided for you when you had nothing, remember who gave you the wealth.
9:7 Remember this and never forget how you aroused the anger of the Lord your God in the wilderness.
6. This is not the last remember scripture but you can find the rest yourselves as you read through this incredible book. Remember you’re really quite annoying - this is a sober reminder to the Israelites. Moses gives them a firm warning that they are entering the promised land not because of their own righteousness or integrity but because the Lord has destroyed and will destroy the enemy before them. Then Moses reminds them how annoying they were in the desert in 9:7-10:11 – it's actually a really funny read.
The saddest part of this study is that what God thought they were going to do, they did. They got into the promise land, got comfortable and forgot him. Go to Biblegateway.com and put the word ‘forgot’ in the search. It is heartbreaking to see how many times in Jeremiah alone it says “Yet my people have forgotten me” and “because you have forgotten me” Look at Psalm 78:11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
Today as you read Deuteronomy highlight all the verses where God is calling them to remember him. And then today in your own life remember all he has done.
Let Psalm 103 resonate in your prayer life:
NLT Psalm 103:2
Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
Enter his courts with thanksgiving today as you remember that he is the God who saved you and is with you. Praise him for all he has done in your past, is doing in your present and will do in your future. Never forget!