We are almost to the end of the Pentateuch!
This week we will dive deep into Deuteronomy - closing in on the end of the Torah. This is Moses' history-dense final charge and the constitutional code of law to the nation of Israel before he dies, and it is laden with certain phrases of warning: "Remember," "Do not forget," and "Watch yourselves."
So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Lord your God has commanded you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Deuteronomy 8:11, 14
You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.
Remember, do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord.
To abbreviate, Moses warns Israel that there will be terrible consequences if they forget just one big thing: who God is.
Do not forget that God is beyond your vision and comprehension, and will not stand to be treated as anything less (Exodus 32).
Do not forget that God is omnipotent, and He is the only reason you have even the breath of your lungs - that neither you nor anyone else in your life can take the credit or the blame for your situation, and that without Him you are helpless (Numbers 11).
Do not forget that God is the lawmaker, and to walk with Him means to walk within the bounds of His rules (Numbers 15:32-41, Numbers 16).
Do not forget that God is faithful to His word and has proved Himself worthy to be trusted again and again, and that distrust leads to disobedience which leads to heartache (Numbers 13 & 14).
Do not forget that God is compassionate and loving, and He loves you because He chooses to, not because you have any merit of your own whatsoever (Deuteronomy 7:6-9, Deuteronomy 9:1-7).
And do not forget that God is just - that the redemptive shedding of blood and the intercession of another are the only things that can rescue us from our just punishment (Deuteronomy 9:24-29, Numbers 16:41-50, Numbers 19).
To be careless with or forgetful of even one of God's incredible attributes would put Israel on the dangerous path of opposition to Him. Already in Numbers we have seen some of the terrifying consequences of provoking God's wrath, and when we read onward into the establishment of the nation in the Promised Land, we'll see even more examples of what God thinks about such flippancy. Yet do we often evaluate how well we remember who God is in our own lives?
In the book of Numbers, a whole family of the Levites was executed for trying to change God's rules for the priesthood. Pestilence plagued the camp when the people distrusted God's provision or disliked how He was giving it. An entire generation was condemned to die in the wilderness because they doubted that God would give them the power to claim the land He had promised them. Even Moses himself lost his pass into the Promised Land when he disobeyed God in one seemingly small thing - a thing which was actually quite big to God, because it told Him that Moses' heart was not fully yielded to God's holiness.
Do not forget who God is - for who you understand God to be will govern your every thought, belief, and action. It will be the difference between anxiety and peace, between blessing and curse, between disobedience and trust, between relationship and religion. It will either open your hands and heart to what God longs to give you and teach you and tell you, or it will close your fists around what you think you already have - and then you will lose it anyway.
Do not forget.
Deuteronomy: God of Preparation
Genre: Law (Constitutional Code)
Total read time for the book of Deuteronomy: 2.5 hours