< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Remember

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The book of Deuteronomy uses the word remember sixteen times. It is the reason for preaching, teaching and Bible study. It is the inspiration for song, peace and prayer. We are to remember how faithful God has been in the past.

This doesn’t mean we should only remember the pleasant memories. Often it is the most bitter and difficult experiences, which profit us the most. They help us avoid making the same mistakes and to learn to serve God better.

The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert learning unity; that they were one people, with one God, going into one land.

In Deuteronomy chapter 7 God told the Israelites to wipe out all the people in the land they were moving into. This was a holy war and the Israelites were to be united both physically and religiously. They were not to be distracted by their apparently successful, but godless neighbors. They were to practice pure and single-minded worship. America began as “one Nation under God”, but we’ve become fragmented, distracted, caught up in unholy things. Part of me understands that the Muslims look on us as the rich, successful, but godless neighbors.

Everything is a gift from God. When you are prosperous you need to be especially careful so that you don’t forget God. Bible history shows us over and over again that an attitude of self-sufficiency eventually leads to a fall. The humility forced on the people in the desert should characterize the people in the prosperity in the Promised Land when they remember God and all that He has done for them.

God humored Israel for a purpose. His purpose was knowledge. He was primarily interested in knowledge in the area of faith. To test the Israelites and show them what they were made of. When September 11th happened, we were tested. And for a little while we came through. The Israelites had everything taken from them and depended on daily manna from God to get by. Manna also refers to the Word of God. We are to depend on His Word and that is most clearly seen in His law.

God disciplines us. He has a goal in mind for our good. He does it out of love and concern. To keep us from evil and lead us to good. Peace and happiness depends on a willingness to fit into God’s ways and live by His directions. He provides the means, but we must provide the willingness. We are called to make a decision and then show consistent conduct on that decision. When we do this, Deuteronomy 24:13 tells us it will be to our credit before the Lord.

God is never the author of evil. God created a good world and it fell because of man’s sin. He allows evil and so He has control over it, but He didn’t create evil and He always offers help to anyone who wants to overcome it. In Revelation 20:10-15 we see that one day God will completely do away with evil. But, for now, God uses everything – both good and evil – for His own good purposes. Our world is very similar to the Old Testament one. National and local governments do not seek God. Countries are tormented by war. Many people follow the false gods of technology and materialism. True worship of God is rare. For NATIONS to do God’s will we need INDIVIDUALS who will do God’s will.

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