11 “Be careful that you don’t forget the Lord your God by failing to keep his commands, ordinances, and statutes that I am giving you today. 12 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, 13 and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, 14 be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. - Deuteronomy 8:11-14
Over the past three weeks Pastor Brian and I have written three articles concerning the need for having and developing a biblical worldview. Today, I want to talk about what happens when we don’t maintain a biblical worldview (when we don’t remember the Lord our God). The passage we’ve chosen from Deuteronomy is speaking directly to God’s chosen people, the Israelites, but some principles remain for His followers today.
Any time we read the book of Deuteronomy, it is helpful to understand that their leader, Moses, is trying to remind the Israelites how to live and serve the Lord even beyond his departure (death). It’s like a father nearing death trying to impart final wisdom before he leaves. The message is filled with compassion and hope that they will be faithful to the Lord, their God, who brought them out of Egypt with great strength.
Moses seems to understand the condition of the human heart, namely, that of forgetfulness. We have a tendency to forget what is most important. When my wife and I were getting to know one another and even into the time we were engaged to be married, we were in a long-distance relationship. I found that unless we nurtured that relationship with letters and phone calls (effort), the heart would forget the good feelings we had for one another.
Here, Moses fears that as the Israelites get comfortable enjoying the blessings from the Lord that they will forget the very One who provided those comforts. Isn’t that amazing that we can experience the blessing of God and forget about the very God who provided the blessing!?! It shouldn’t be this way, but it is an all too easy place to find oneself.
Having a biblical worldview means that we will maintain a healthy perspective that all good gifts come from God and are meant to draw us closer to God. Perhaps this is why we are so often instructed to give thanks to God in the Scriptures. Even when life is going poorly, even if everything seems to be falling apart, we can give thanks to God for bringing us out of the land of Egypt (fyi, that’s code for our bondage to sin).
Do you regularly give praise to God for His gift of salvation? Do you give thanks to God that He has fully forgiven your sins and remembers them no more? This life is a gift from God, and in it, He does give good gifts. But, this life is temporary and short-lived. Our pursuits and passions should not be set on things that are going to fade away and mean little to nothing for eternity.
What happened to the Israelites when they forgot God? We see the warning of Moses just a few verses down, “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve them and bow in worship to them, I testify against you today that you will certainly perish (Deuteronomy 8:19).” We don’t have to read too far down in Israel’s history to start reading of the destruction that came upon them because of their neglect in their relationship with God.
Again, we are not the Israelites living in the land promised by God, but there are principles that hold true. There is a cost to neglecting our God. The health of our relationship with God begins breaking down when we stop cultivating it. What should we expect when we move away from the author of life? We may not be attacked by marauding Philistines or Babylonians, but we begin to experience a slow death.
For instance, if our pursuit of God is replaced by a pursuit of wealth. We may find that our family relationships begin to suffer, our friendships (particularly in the faith) begin to suffer, and we might feel less satisfaction or contentment with what we have. Next thing we know, we act like a slave to this insatiable desire for wealth making choices without even thinking or being aware of the consequences it’s having on our life and relationships. Then, our marriage ends in an ugly divorce, we don’t know our kids, we feel miles away from God, and we look up one day wondering what happened only to realize too late that we have forgotten our God.
The pursuit of wealth is just one of many potential idols that can grab our heart’s attention. Perhaps it would be helpful to spend a little time evaluating where we spend our time, money, and energies. Are we focusing and spending much of our lives on building or improving our homes and making ourselves as comfortable as we can possibly be? Are we focused on growing a large nest egg at the expense of seeking after God? Do we consider the things we have as tools for use in God’s work or are they to make the most of this life here and now?
May it be that we continually grow in our love for God and dependence on Him whether we have a little or a lot. May we be open to our brothers and sisters in the faith as they speak into our lives to encourage us in our faith (even when it isn’t easy to hear).
For many Christians we are dumbfounded when we look around at what is going on in our society. We look at the sin that seems to prevail in our country and world and we ask ourselves, what is going on? That is the very question that I want to answer today from the book of Romans.
I know that this passage is very sobering. It is a hard truth to read and hear. But we must know it and believe it in order to have a correct understanding of what is going on and then to be able to walk away having the joy of the Lord in it.
So what is going on? Look at verse 25. Why does it seem as though our nation is changing rapidly and losing all sense of morality? It seems inconceivable to us that we would continue to legislate sin like abortion, same-sex marriage, no-fault divorce, and on and on the list goes. Why does Romans 1:18-32 look like a prophecy for our day and age? For one, nothing is new under the sun. But for two, this is what happens when God gives people over to their depraved minds.
There is no excuse for any person to not find themselves worshiping Christ. The gospel has been preached here in America, creation itself screams out its makers praise. Christ deserves and commands the worship of every citizen in America. But what do we see?
People refusing to give honor where it is due (verse 21). We would rather call our judges who preside over the court room “honorable” than attribute this title to the One who presides over all of creation. Our nation has darkened its heart against God by refusing to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
We proclaim on the rooftops how wise we are (verse 22) and put all kinds of pride-filled letters after our professors’ names while they blaspheme the Holy One. We have created gods in all kinds of forms and fashion (verse 23). We have worshiped the earth and ourselves far and above the One who spoke and all things came into being. We have a day that we set aside in April to celebrate mother earth and at the same time we call it hate speech to preach the infinite Creator’s written revelation of Himself and His glorious attributes.
Why is same-sex marriage legal today (verse 26)? Why do we have people who are exchanging that which is natural for that which is unnatural and sinful in sexual relations? Because God will give people over when they reject Him. We have people who are rejecting God’s creative perfection saying that He got their gender wrong at birth.
We have people who have the audacity to take the life of our most precious and vulnerable. The greatest scourge that could ever come on our nation is the scourge of abortion. Who do we think we are, to take the life of the most innocent among us? Shame on America for allowing this to happen and calling it lawful! Look again at verse 25. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie. We have begun to worship self in such an egregious way that we now say that having a baby is an inconvenience to my life. Or we excuse ourselves and say that the child may have health problems, or it was unplanned, so he or she must be terminated. And we wonder why God would give a nation over to its own depravity?
All unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, slander, malice, the list goes on with what we are seeing in our country. Look at the last piece of verse 32. They give hearty approval to those who practice them. We have organizations dedicated to preserving institutions of sin. Planned Parenthood? Who plans life but God alone! Law firms dedicated to seeing sinners go free? Our national language has turned into “whatever is right for you” instead of “what does God’s Word say?” I cannot confidently say that God has given us over in every way to these things, but I can say according to this passage, it should not surprise us if this is the case. That is my point if you were wondering where I was going with this.
I am in no way seeking to be political today, I am seeking to be biblical in how we view the world and what is going on. Our worldview needs to be shaped by the Word of God. We look at this list in Romans 1 and pray fervently that God would either withhold His hand of judgement so that we can repent as a nation or that He would strike and strike hard to purify this nation for His glory.
I am writing this to make sure that we understand what is going on in general. The wrath of God will be revealed against a nation that thrives on ungodliness and unrighteousness. He will not sit idly by while a nation claims wisdom as it blasphemes Him and rejects His Word and even His gospel. Our Lord will reveal His wrath in His timing and on His scale, but it will come.
Let us never be caught in the worldview that says that America will be preserved because we are a Christian nation. When we exchange the truth of God for a lie (there are many listed out here), then He will give them over and they will be destroyed. When a nation legislates sin, you can be sure Romans 1:18-32 applies to it.
All that to be said, I want us to be encouraged by this passage. Not because this is good news for us as a nation, but because at least now we can understand what is going on. This passage explains a lot! This passage should be one of the go to’s that shapes our response. We need Romans 1! I want us to be informed people. Because people who are informed by the Word of God are people who are not shocked when a passage such as this comes true of their nation.
And never forget this; do not let your heart be troubled, your hope is not in a nation. If you are in Christ, then your hope is infinitely tied to the Eternal Governor and Prince of Peace, your hope is in the Author of Life and Savior of souls. Our nation may one day be given over to its sinful principles and it may be destroyed for it, but your eternal life and eternal security is found in Christ alone.
Let your worldview be driven by the Word of God, even if it is a hard truth to swallow. It is good to look around at what is going on and be grieved at the level of public and even lawful sin, but we know what is going on because God’s Word tells us. So be encouraged, your worldview isn’t blown out of the water by a sinful world. It is what we are to expect.
Now go and share the good news of Christ to those who fall into the categories of sinful behavior that we have in our text for today. As long as they have breath, there is hope! Right before our passage today Paul tells us this, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Our nation may be condoning sin and encouraging sinful lifestyles, but the gospel is still just as powerful to change lives! The gospel of Jesus Christ has not lost any of its luster just because sin reigns in the hearts of men. It is still the power of God unto salvation!