Deuteronomy is a book of remembering.
For starters, it’s a recap of all that’s gone before – reminding Israel of recent events and God’s commandments. But within this reminding comes the command to remember – to continue to remember. Memory is essential to Israel’s identity – she’s to remember where she came from, who called her and redeemed her, who it is she is called to follow and obey.
As part of my own exploration of faith and memory, it’s become clear to me that in biblical passages the call to remember – not to forget – God is not to do with lip service or occasional mental recall when necessary. Remembering God is to live his ways and enact his calling on our lives.
The faithlessness of forgetfulness
I ask the question – what does it really mean to remember God? Conversely, what does it mean to forget God? Because forgetfulness was a chronic condition for ancient Israel, and it’s a chronic condition for us today. Forgetfulness means faithlessness – turning away from the one true God and putting other idols and other practises in his place.
The power of recall
God, in Deuteronomy, cautions his people not to forget his ways. Not to forget his commandments. Not to forget where they came from.
Because their memories told them who they were.
Their memories told them how they should live.
And their memories told them about him and what he had done on behalf.
Something incredible has been done on our behalf, too – with a far greater impact than the ancient exodus from Egypt. Do we remember it as often as we should?
This post originally appeared at the BIGBible Project