How easy we forget…When we become comfortable, when life gets easy, we get complacent and forget. When we get busy, managing our lives and schedules, keeping up with all the demands of the day, we forget. The Bible makes clear, we can never forget.
Deuteronomy 6 is one of the greatest chapters in all the Old Testament. The beginning of the chapter implores fathers to teach the commandments to their children all the time. It tells us to teach them to our children when we get up, when we lay down, when we walk along the way and when we sit in our house. We are to teach them all the time. This is discipleship.
But to make the point more clear, we are to teach them diligently. The Hebrew word for teach diligently literally means to sharpen. We are to sharpen these truths into our children. It is an image of one working with a blade or point, perfecting it through continuous sharpening. We are to continuously sharpen our children in the ways of God.
But the chapter goes on to warn the Israelites. They are about to go into the promised land and they will have victory over their enemies. The Lord promises the victory. But there is a danger they will face that will be far more subtle, and actually more dangerous, than those who live in the cities. In verses 10-12 we read, “So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant – when you have eaten and are full – then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” As I read these words I think of the church in America today. It seems we are comfortable, bellies full, lives full, schedules full, but we have forgotten.
Some will say we have not forgotten, but we have. We have forgotten the battles of the great reformers who shed blood to protect and establish theological truths and traditions that we take for granted. We have forgotten the wisdom of the older generations and have cast them off to be discarded. We have forgotten in our own nation the sacrifices of those who risked their lives to create a nation based on freedom. We have forgotten those who have since died protecting that very freedom. We have forgotten the great providence of the Lord our God. Beware!
We need to beware, remembering all that God has done for us. We need to remember and make sure our children remember. The method given in this passage to help them to not forget is incredibly simple. It is at the beginning and at the end of the chapter. At the beginning we are told to teach the commandments, statutes and judgments, and at the end of the chapter we are told that when our children ask what the meaning of them is, we are to tell them a story. Not just any story, but the story. The great story of the providence of God to lead Israel out of bondage and into the promised land. It was a story they needed to hear and remember. It was a story that would remind those who heard, as well as those who told, all that God had done for them. It was a story that would help them to not forget the Lord their God.
We need to teach our children, sharpen them to a perfect point, and send them out as arrows shot from the bow of a warrior. We need to prepare our children to be dominion warriors, taking ground for the kingdom of God. But we need to continue to tell them the stories, not just of Scripture, but of our own lives, what God has done for us, our family, our nation, the church, etc. We need to tell them over and over lest we and they forget the Lord our God. We cannot get complacent. We cannot get too comfortable. We cannot forget the Lord our God.