LOOKING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD

May 31, 2018

DEUTERONOMY 16:1-17

 

 

“An unexamined life is not worth living.”

 

-Socrates

 

Socrates was a Greek philosopher and though this quote is coming from a secular source, it does have truth in it that we can all apply it to our lives. So many things happen in our lives and it is so easy in the midst of deadlines or the next big thing that we just keep moving forward without reflecting on the events in our lives. When we move forward without reflecting on the good moments we realize we stopped short of the full potential of those moments to bless us. On the flipside, when we don’t reflect on the moments that have hurt us or made us uncomfortable, we realize that we don’t simply forget them but that the negative outcomes can affect us in the moment and well into the future.

 

An examined life maximizes the blessings and deals with the failures and in today’s passage, the LORD lays out three rituals of remembrance so that the people can continue to live in the new life that they have been given and move forward. The Israelites are tasked with looking back in their history so that they can continue moving forward. Whether we have or not been examining our lives doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be living but that we could be maximizing the precious gift of life that the Lord has given us! Today let us take some time to remember how God has been faithful so that we can remain in His faithfulness.

 

NOTES ON THE TEXT

 

  • Remembering the past to remain faithful in the present (v.1-8)

    • The first feast that the Lord wanted the people to remember was the Passover event in Exodus. The Exodus from Egypt was a historic event in the Israelite culture because they went from a nation of slaves to a nation of God. God wanted the people to remember their roots so that they don’t stray away from Him by going after other Gods and adopting other nations’ customs. The point of eating the bread that was flat (unleavened) was to be a physical representation of the time that they all had to leave Egypt quickly, but why? They are to remember that when they were weak and did not have a voice as slaves that it was God who saved them and provided life unto them for a temptation of success and good times is to make ourselves believe that it was all because of our own efforts. Success has a strange habit of making us forget the Lord and focus more on ourselves. This annual feast was to keep them humble, keep them rooted, and keep them focused on the direction forward with God.

 

  • Remember the moment you were saved and celebrate (v.9-12)

    • I don’t know about you, but I grew up in church where seriousness was the norm and tears was the cherry on top during services but did you know that the destination of worship is not tears but celebration in the LORD? The purpose of the feast of weeks is to celebrate not the former identity of slavery but to realize who they were and who they are now in the LORD. I know our baptism and confirmation is one moment in our lives but we should annually remember when we were saved. We celebrate our physical birthdays yearly and we should celebrate our spiritual birthdays because it reminds us again of God’s grace and favor upon our lives. Like a physical birthday, a spiritual birthday is a time of celebration.

 

  • We are blessed to bring a blessing back unto God (v.13-17)

    • This was a feast where God reminds them that His promise over their lives is that the work of their hands will thrive in His presence. As they work, it is God that drives the productivity and this was another time to remember God’s hand of grace and celebrate. This passage ends where the Lord commands for all the males to come to the place of worship to remember these things but what is interesting is that the Lord requires that no one comes empty handed but that the measure of their offering is according to the proportion of how much God has blessed them. When it comes to blessing God or others, we tend to compare what we give to what others are giving but the Lord is not concerned with the amount per say but focuses on the fact that those who have been blessed much should naturally bless much. You know what’s weird to see, a person that is cheap and petty when they are rich because we question why they are like that when they have so much? I have heard many times that people would treat their family and friends out when they make it big and wait until they make it but I would say to practice blessing when you have little because giving generously is not dependent upon what we have but a posture of heart that we keep. When God blesses the principle is to reflect that blessing back unto Him as an act of appreciation and declaration that you are not in relationship with blessings but the blesser.

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