Do Not Forget The LORD
The warnings given to Israel are good instructions we should also follow.
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 shall eat and be satisfied, then watch yourself, lest you forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”.
As the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, Moses gave them instructions.
The commandments of the Lord had just been re-emphasized by Moses as being instrumental in their receiving the inheritance.
This land which God had promised to Abraham and his descendants was described as a land “flowing with milk and honey.”
This was figurative language to describe a wonderful place much better than anywhere else.
Gifts and blessings to accompany the land.
Cities which they had not built;
Houses full of things they had not put there;
Wells they had not dug;
Vineyards and olive trees they had not planted;
God was going to make their life easier so they did not have all the hard work of settlement.
The people were also instructed that the security and safety of the land was dependent upon their obedience to God.
In Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26—God had promised blessings for obedience and calamity for dis-obedience.
Their destiny and outcome was under their control.
And they also got a warning.
“DO NOT FORGET THE LORD”
We should learn from the Israelites.
For over 400 years they had been wanderers without a land.
For over 200 years they were slaves in Egypt.
They just went through a number of battles with the inhabitants of the land.
They were successful (with God’s help).
They began thinking that they were the source of their strength.
They had nothing to do but obey God.
Their quick success led to complacency.
They became indifferent to any possible dangers.
And the dangers were right under their noses.
They allowed some of the lands inhabitants to remain.
They assimilated into the Canaanites ways.
It was not long before they actually forgot God.
They were too wrapped up in their safety and security that they let their guard down.
We can be lulled into a false sense of security when we settle down and take our ease.
Remember the movie phrase:
“Nothing can stop us now”.
The moment that is said, you know something is about to happen to them.
Well this is the same problem they experienced in the days of Moses and Joshua.
It is called complacency.
The New Testament Church Followed The Same Pattern.
The church began with enthusiasm.
The church grew quickly because of the dedication of the members and the concern for lost souls.
Acts tells of the tremendous growth of the early church: 2:41,47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 8:4; continued to grow and spread throughout the world.
Even under the guidance of the apostles and Holy Spirit, the early church had problems.
The epistles and letters of the apostles were instructions to early Christians (and to us).
The book to the Galatians was one of the earliest letters written.
Even then, error had to be dealt with (1:8-9).
Even Peter had to be chastised for his hypocrisy (2:11).
Within 60 years of the beginning of the church, the apostle John wrote about the seven churches of Asia.
Notice how they were described:
Left their first love (2:4).
Some who speak blasphemy (2:9).
Hold to the teaching of Balaam (2:14).
Some hold to false teachings (2:15).
Following false prophets (2:20).
Think themselves alive, but are dead (3:2).
Lukewarm, wretched, miserable, poor, and naked (3:16-17).
These problems happen today
Congregations start out small, and all the members are excited and unified in their goals.
The local church grows.
Then with the success of growth, some seem to become complacent.
They let others do the work.
They become nothing more than a pew occupier.
Not every member remains excited about the work of the local church.
Seems that some have a tendency to forget the Lord.
They get complacent and lazy, and let others do the work.
They say: “Let the preacher preach, after ll that is his job”.
How quickly we forget that we are all priests of God (1 Peter 2:9) and have the responsibility to share the gospel everywhere we go (Acts 8:4).
When we forget God:
Many in this world are pleased just to ignore God.
Mankind did it in the past, and they do it today.
Even some members seem to ignore God.
Some might feel a little guilty that they forget God is always watching, but they do their thing anyway.
Some will replace God with idols.
The Jews turned their apostasy into idolatry (Jeremiah 2:26-28).
They began to worship the gods of the other nations (this was their problem throughout their history).
Gods like Bacchus who was the god of intoxicating drink.
Paul told the Ephesians not to be drunk with wine, but be clear headed to understand God’s word (5:18).
They worshipped Venus the goddess of lasciviousness.
They enjoyed the temple prostitutes.
Today many worship that idol (1 Corinthians 6:15-18).
Some worshipped Plutus, the god of money and plenty.
For many, money becomes their god.
There are plenty of scriptures warning against greed and the love of money.
Many years ago, men fashioned their gods out of all sorts of materials.
They also made these gods into their own image and able to fulfill their own desires.
They wanted gods who would tolerate their faults and sins, and who would approve of their wickedness.
Is it any different today?
Many fashion God into what they want and do not care what He has spoken.
God helps us to NOT Forget.
How, you might ask?
One thing God did was to reveal His will to us.
Another thing God did was to establish memorials.
These are given so that we and our descendants can remember.
For the Jews, God gave several memorials.
When the law was presented to the people, they were commanded to attend and observe three feasts per year—all for the purpose of reminding them what God had done for them.
As the Jews entered the promised land, they had twelve men pickup twelve stones out of the riverbed and place them as a memorial. (Joshua 2:4-7).
For us, God has given a memorial feast to observe every week.
The Lord’s Supper is to be observed until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:23-30).
We must remember the reason behind the memorial, or we will forget its purpose.
If we forget God, He will do the same with us.
However, we have the assurance that if we remember God and turn our lives around to serve Him, He will reward us with His blessings.
Do not forget God.
Do not forget what God has done for you.
Then it is time for you to do something for God.
Make Him Happy.
By Carey Scott
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