REMEMBER ALL THE WAY
Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
The Book of Deuteronomy might very well be called a ‘book of remembrance’.
Israel was standing on the edge of the mountain. The picturesque panorama, of the Promised land lay before them. In a few days from now they were about to enter all that God had Promised their forefathers. And God was calling for a greater obedience, a deeper commitment, a grander love than ever before than the days gone by.
Moses spoke distinctly and made every incident count, to show Israel what great things the Lord had done for them in the days gone by. Moses was stirring them in this way to gratitude, he desired to challenge them to greater and a higher service of the God whom many of them had forsaken along the way in forty years.
God is constantly calling His people to remembrance. This means to think of the past, to realize what has been done, and out of the past to gather lessons of inspiration and hope for the future.
‘Thou shalt remember…’ stokes our memory and draws us to true experiences with God and His doings every day in of our lives. Memory is the condition and the proof of our self-identity. We should not know ourselves in any real sense had we not power to recall the past.
Apart from memory, our minds would be a blank, except to the sensation of the passing moment. Knowledge, mental growth, even thoughts itself would be impossible.
Let me share a deep reality I have learned over the years.
We are created, to cherish each experience we have, and as it goes to our minds, it leaves its sediments deep down. These sediments are in the form of all our faculties. Linked solidly with smells, images, conversations, feelings, emotions, and spiritual impressions, all preserved carefully in a capsule and stored away in the recesses of our mind.
This seems a very simple fact, yet it is one that lies at the root of all our mental and spiritual life.
And so thus we can reproduce our former experiences and converse with the flashes of what we were ten, twenty years ago. Hey, and this means we can call up the slowly vanishing image of the friends who have long since passed away from the stage of life. More, without this faculty we could not come into touch with God Himself.
Tell me what things you can remember easily, and I will tell you what manner of man you are; whether you are refined or rough, learned or crude, healthy-minded or moody.
E. Griffith-Jones wrote poignantly… “the humourist has a mind stored with jokes and anecdotes, the philosopher can recall a complicated train of reasoning without an effort, the cheerful man remembers his holidays and his joys, the melancholy his trials and bereavements and losses. And so, it runs through the complicated varieties of human temperament and character”.
Deuteronomy is full of the challenges of using memory. Now memory is a God-given gift. We are looking back even as the Israelites did… “all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness”.
Today God calls us to remember the way He brought us all these 15 years. Through all the experiences and challenges.
Then He call us further back…“Remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 16:3). The time when we were saved by the Blood of the Cross, and the power of God’s forgiveness.
As I stand at this point of my own life, I recall it in this way…that I should have an autobiography in my mind, if not on paper, of the influences, and especially the personal influences, which have entered my life and the lives of my family, and all of you included…of a loving God who accompanied us all the way these 15 years.
His faithfulness knows no end. His love has no limit. His Presence goes on stronger than before. And His Word remains with us.
The same God who accompanied Israel to the edge of the mountain that day, is the same God who is with us. He is our pillar of fire, lighting our dark days. He’s our powerful cloud that shades us from the enemy. He’s the same God that provided Manna daily and faithfully. He will not let our raiment wax old upon us, and He is the same God who will keep our foot from swelling.
As we enter the next phase as one Community, even as Israel entered the Land thousands of years ago, we enter to conquer the giants, to possess and take a hold of all God has for us in our tomorrows.
Yes! We will remember!
Pastor Willie Soans