By Steven Norris
“Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God…” (Deuteronomy 8:11). I don’t know about you, but I am a chronic forgetter. I make lists, use special apps on my iPhone, fill my desk with multi-colored Post It notes, have people remind me of things, but I still forget.
One of the great joys that I had over the pandemic was watching my boys discover some of the old classic television shows for the first time. They learned about the Ricardos and their shenanigans, the town of Mayberry, and all about the Cleaver family.
One day, they had on an episode where the Beaver was invited to a birthday party. The invitation had come during the week, but the party was to be held on Saturday. When Saturday rolled around, Beaver was busy doing boy stuff and forgot all about the party.
His family tracked him down and sure laid into “the Beav” about why he had forgotten about this important party. “I didn’t meant to forget,” Beaver said. “He invited me on Wednesday. I was so busy thinking about Wednesday stuff that I forgot about Saturday stuff.”
We don’t mean to forget, do we? It’s not like we set out to neglect the Lord, be ungrateful, or snub our noses at God. Sometimes, we are so busy thinking about the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday stuff that we forget about the Saturday or Sunday stuff.
The Book of Deuteronomy comes on the heels of the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness. For forty years, they have known about want — lack of bread, meat, water, land, or a permanent home. They have also known about hardship, illness, death, rebellion, disappointment, and forgetfulness.
Now, as they prepare to enter the Promised Land, Moses has a few last reminders. “When you come into the land, be careful not to forget the Lord your God…” In other words, when you begin to experience a little taste of prosperity, be careful not to neglect its source. Be careful that a sudden case of amnesia does not set in.
The theologian, Telford Work, warns us “Forgetfulness is a chronic condition of mortal humanity…The greatest danger to God’s words is not that anything superior would overpower them but that careless trustees would lose or corrupt them.”
“Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God.”
But, we know the rest of the story, don’t we? We know that Israel did forget. The Hebrew Scriptures record the painful history of exile and return — rebellion and restoration. It’s what our recent study of Isaiah has been all about.
As 21st Century Americans, how many blessings do we overlook, take for granted, or gloss over in our day-to-day coming and going? This week gives us space to pause the busy-ness, the football, the eating and celebrations of abundance in order to remember. Let us remember the Lord, and all God’s good gifts: friends, family, community, health, provisions, and a Savior who has loved and redeemed us.
Let us pause and declare that this is not just a Monday with Monday stuff or a Tuesday with Tuesday stuff. This is the day that the Lord has made — a day of thanksgiving and humble gratitude. Therefore, let us rejoice and be glad in it.