I’ve been reading in Deuteronomy for my quiet times this week, and the pattern that’s been running through my mind is the connection between the people God first saved (the Israelites who were slaves to Egypt) and the people God is currently saving (us, the slaves of sin and death).
Deuteronomy 4:9Â â€œOnly take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s childrenâ€”
I think this is a warning to us as well as the Israelites. I need to remember what God has done in my life so that the work that God has done and is doing will not depart from my life.
Deuteronomy 4:15-19â€œTherefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire,Â beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air,Â the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth.Â And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
We, too, have not seen God. It’s tempting for us to make an idol, maybe not in the form of animals, but in the form of our work, our homes, our families, our stuff. I never think that I worship other idols until I look at what I’m drawn away by and what I serve.
Deuteronomy 6 20-25 â€œWhen your son asks you in time to come, â€˜What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?â€™Â then you shall say to your son, â€˜We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.Â And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.Â And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.â€™
God also wants us to teach our children the meaning of going to church, of serving the poor, of communion, etc. When we were slaves to sin, even before we were born, God sent His Son to die for us, to give us an inheritance in Heaven, to give us a relationship with God. That’s why we serve Him, that’s why we study His Word, that’s why we love others.
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,Â but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
It wasn’t because we were awesome that God redeemed us. Actually, he has chosen the lowly to humble the proud. Nothing I did or was made God redeem me. It was all His love for me.
Deuteronomy 8:3-5And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.Â Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.Â Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.
God humbles and tests us as well so that we might know him more. Yet, just as their clothes did not wear out, he sustains us during the testing.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 Beware lest you say in your heart, â€˜My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.â€™Â You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
I’m not referring to physical wealth here, but I know that I need to be careful not to attribute the work of God to myself. I cannot say that it was through my good deeds that I was tranformed. I cannot say that it was because of me that I was redeemed. I cannot attribute God’s good working to my sinful striving. It is because of Christ that I am where I am today, and it will be by His grace if I become more like Him.
These have been a few of my mind wanderings as I have moved through the first part of Deuteronomy. Do you see any parallels? What scripture is impacting you right now?