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).