"...the time to be careful..." Deuteronomy 8:11
The Israelite nation was warned multiple times to "Be careful never to forget..." (Deuteronomy 4:9, another simple phrase of five understandable words!) the Laws of the Lord and the miracles they had seen through the deliverance from Egypt and the sustenance in the desert. Before and after they entered the promised land, Moses and Joshua reviewed the blessings and the curses that would follow for either following or rejecting God's law.
One description of the blessings of following God's law is found in Deuteronomy 4:1-14:
- "...you will display your wisdom..." (v.6) A nation that follows God's laws will be like cream that rises to the top - it will become an example of goodness to the world. In fact, God tells Moses that nations will exclaim, "How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation." (v.6b)
- "...I will personally instruct them..." (v.10) God wants to be personal to each of us. He desires relationship, communion, and interaction with us. Jesus promised this same precept when He described how the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth (read John 16:13; He will guide us in understanding the Word of Truth). I find that the more I get into God's Word, the more God's Word gets into my heart and mind. There are plenty of blessings in following God's Word. For example, when we honor our father and mother, we are promised a long life. God knows the number of our days, just as He knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7).
- "...He will not abandon you..." (Deuteronomy 4:31) In fact, God will fight your battles for you! Imagine God working behind the scenes to confound the enemy! (Deuteronomy 1:30) Moses asserted that man can search through history's story and not find another episode like the one of God establishing a nation like the nation of Israel. Our founding fathers believed that America might have been established in a similar way to reveal His wisdom and power. Moses declared that God revealed Himself through His mighty acts of deliverance to show there is no other God. (read Deuteronomy 4:35-39)
- "...all will be well with you and your children." (Deuteronomy 4:40; 6:2) Obedience is an action of love and thankfulness to the parent. Think about it. A child is obedient to a parent that lovingly disciplines, provides, instructs, and nurtures. Yes, all children will have their moments, but children will be naturally inclined to understand that a loving parent provides and protects.
Knowing these benefits motivates Christian parents to teach the precepts of God's law to their children, relatives, and neighbors. Wholehearted commitment is expected by God, and we are not to take lightly the responsibility to convey His laws for living: (from Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
- We are to be repetitious in exposing His laws. (v.7) Repetition is a standard teaching method.
- We are to discuss their meaning at home and as we go about our daily work, as well as when we are beginning and ending the day. This reveals to the children the importance of God's way. (v.7b&c)
- We are to bind them to our hands. (v.8) This could be a way of teaching the children a commandment for each of their fingers - a way to memorize the decalogue.
- We are to wear them on our foreheads. (v.8b) Perhaps this meant to have garments embroidered with the ten commandments. In other words, God wants us to be continually reminded of both our vertical relationship with Him and our horizontal relationship with each other.
- We are to write them on the doorposts of our house and on the gates to our property. (v.9) Proclaiming to our neighbors the wisdom of God for right living is nothing we should ever be ashamed of doing. Exposing God's way to a lost and dying world is simply an effort to ignite another candle of life with the fire of God's Word.
We are told to be careful not to forget the Lord, Who rescued you from slavery (remember my last blog - we are all slaves to sin until God rescues us). (Deuteronomy 6:12) In fact, God's way is so life-giving that it is described by God Himself in this way: "...people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 8:3)
TODAY'S five simple words follows this description in warning the people, "...the time to be careful!" The most important time to be careful is when you have plenty to eat, plenty to do, plenty of property, and plenty of house to live in. We are not to become proud and forget our relationship with a personal God. How would you feel if someone forgot you after you had gone to great lengths for them? God exhorts us to: "Remember the Lord your God. He is the one Who gives you power to be successful..." (Deuteronomy 8:18)
Sandra and I have always sought to take these passages of scripture to heart in teaching our children to walk in His way. We are praying for the next generation to know the joy of knowing Him.
He must increase, I must decrease.