The book of Deuteronomy has some great tidbits of encouragement in it. Not only does it give us the great Shema, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might,” Deuteronomy also contains all of these incredible calls to remember. Many have said the Old Testament could be summed up in one word: Remember. In chapter six God gives a charge to his people to make sure that the next generation is told the story of God’s faithfulness as well. God knows how important it is that each generation is narrated into the story of God. In chapter seven God states this in response to the fear some of his people carried toward enemy nations, “…you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out.” (Deut 7:18-19)
Take care to remember lest you forget the Lord…. (Deut 7:11)
Apparently forgetting is the source of many of our problems as humans beings. But I suppose that makes sense because that is where much of our faith comes from, remembering God’s faithfulness to us in the past.
I met a young lady last night after Seven24. I had not seen her around before so I went up and introduced myself. Her first day at New Song was the day I was interviewed on mainstage about my ministry to Thailand. She told me how encouraged she felt to hear my story and then later to hear about God’s abundant financial provision for my trip. She said the she had been feeling a pull on her life towards potential full time ministry but had been nervous about how the details of that would work out. She now felt more confident that God would take care of it, however.
God fills our lives with reminders of His faithfulness and provision, all we have to do is notice and remember.
I remember some of the darkest times in my life was when I would fail to remember who God was. When I read about when the Israelites I sometimes catch myself thinking, “Man, these guys are annoying, why do they keep making the same mistake over and over? Don’t they get it?” Then I remember, that the story of Israel is the story of us all… we all take our eyes off God from time to time… and suffer the consequences of it.
My seminary graduation commencement was this past Saturday. My family and I made the trek up to Pasadena to participate in the festivities. Heck, all that hard work… I had definitely earned my two second time to shine as they call my name and I walk across the stage.
I remember feeling incredibly childish as a stood on the side of the stage waiting for my name to be called. The gown felt way to big, like I was a kid dressing up in one of my mother’s dresses trying to feel elegant but not quite pulling it off. Seriously, the sleeves went past my fingertips and I was surrounded, as always, by people much bigger than and and whose gowns seemed to fit them fine. I felt so small… and although that moment was supposed to be my time to shine, to be recognized for all of my hard work and achievement, as a looked around at all the other graduates I started to feel like just another name and wondered if all of that hard work meant anything at all.
But then I spotted my dad way up in the balcony get up from his seat and walk down to the front so he could get a better picture of me and I remembered… I remembered that I did count … and I remembered all of God’s provision to get me to that moment and how he carried my through some very dark moments in my seminary career. And tears came to my eyes… we have a good God.
All of our hard work for God will need to be steeped in remembrance. In fact I am sure remembering and looking for signs of God’s faithfulness will be the only way I’ll make it in Thailand.
At a graduation dinner last Thursday one of my professors quoted this verse to us as his last charge:
“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
What a lovely benediction for us all.