The other day, I found myself reading a few chapters in the book of Deuteronomy. While I’m reading, I kept thinking who in the world reads Deuteronomy? Why am I so drawn to this book? For some reason, I could not stop reading about Moses giving the Israelites commands before entering the Promised Land. They had been traveling the wilderness for forty years, and were finally on the brink of freedom, yet they had to learn the rules before they could enter the new land. I discovered two important truths through this reading.
First off, I found myself relating to the Israelites as I read through the first few chapters of this book. They were given every opportunity to serve God and live in complete abundance, yet they kept disobeying Him. In fact, in the book of Judges, the Israelites were living in complete anarchy, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” (Judges 21:25). There are countless stories in the Old Testament about the Israelites erecting idols to other gods, breaking the law, and ignoring God’s commands.
God foreknew that the Israelites would live recklessly in the Promised Land, yet He still chose to give them grace and bring them across the Jordan River. “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
Reading about the faithfulness of God, with the knowledge of how terribly the Israelites would eventually live in the Promised Land, really gave me perspective about the magnitude of God’s goodness. In the same way, how many times have I chosen to reject Jesus, and He shows mercy by blessing me abundantly anyways? God is an all knowing God, yet He is also an Always Seeking God. He is in continual pursuit of our wretched hearts.
Secondly, when I was reading Deuteronomy, another point stuck out to me. “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:12) This verse completely wrecked me. Moses was commanding his people to never forget where they had come from, because to forget what God has delivered you from breeds sin such as an arrogant and prideful heart.
How often do we Christians try to forget how unholy our lives were before the Cross? We try to put on masks of perfection, so that no one knows where we’ve truly come from. The Israelites were slaves-the lowliest of the low-and God worked many miracles on their behalf. Now, we might not see our past stories as mighty as this Biblical truth, however, each of our pasts deserve recognition. For if we never reflect on who we’ve been, how can we recognize the extent of the deliverance of our God? Just as the Israelites were encouraged to never forget, so should we take the time to continually reflect on how far we’ve come. Reflection often breeds crucial introspection that allows us to see the glory of God.
The Old Testament stories we learned as children in Sunday school hold very realistic principles for our modern walk with Christ. All it takes is a little digging. 🙂