Passing It On - How the Past Can Empower Our Present (1 of 6) by Joe Alain

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Passing It On - How the Past Can Empower Our Present (1 of 6)
Series: Deuteronomy
Joe Alain
Deuteronomy 4:9-14

"What you remember, you are likely to do." Think of all that you have to do in a given week. Get the kids up and off to school, plan meals, make trips to the grocery store, pay bills, make various appointments and meetings, not to mention basketball and cheerleading practice, dance classes, etc. If you're like me, if it's not something that is a part of your normal schedule, you better write it down otherwise you will forget.

Moses knew how forgetful the Israelites were and so he says in Deuteronomy 4:9, "Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don't forget the things your eyes have seen so that they don't slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and grandchildren." Moses was well aware that they had trouble remembering even the amazing miracles of God's grace they had witnessed in the desert. If the generation standing before him was prone to forget, how in the world would their children ever learn and remember the lessons of obedience?

This passage helps us to understand that Moses was not worried about a simple memory lapse on the people's part. He was concerned that God's commands would slip from their hearts, that they would grow lackadaisical in their obedience. And if the parents became careless in following God, where would their children end up?

It's essential for us as believers to remember the Lord and our past experiences with Him so that we will be empowered to fulfill God's Word in our lives in the present. "What you remember, you are likely to do." If we keep our relationship with God alive and fresh in the present, this relationship that began for us in the past, we will be motivated and empowered to live in obedience to God's Word. Believers, God's people do have a past with God that empowers our present.

This particular passage can be seen in two parts: (1) First, there is a charge delivered in verse 9, and (2) Second, there is the covenant described in verses 10-14. We'll take a look at each in turn.

1. A Charge Delivered (4:9)
The passage begins with a warning that is repeated in a slightly different form at verses 15 and 23. The Israelites are to be careful that they do not forget what their "eyes have seen." They had never literally seen their God, but they had seen what God had done. They saw God deliver them from Egypt in the Exodus. They saw God at work in their desert wanderings. Their seeing was that of religious experience, not the literal seeing of a wooden or stone representation of their God. However, they saw what no image could ever produce - the living God at work in their lives!

Memory was an important part of Israel's religious life. Israel's religious life did not consist, however, only in remembering the experience of God in the past; memory, rather, functioned in order to produce continuing obedience to the law of ...


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