This past Sunday I had the opportunity to preach at the church I am currently serving. I spoke about remembering the “great things God has done”. Normally this time of year we are so excited about the new year and all that awaits us that we run the risk of ignoring what has taken place over the past year. And if we do look back it is usually about all the bad things that occurred. My sermon was based on Deuteronomy 11:1-9, where Moses is retelling the Exodus story and its subsequent events. In this passage there are two big takeaways for me: 1) in verse 7 Moses tells the Israelites that they “have seen the Lord perform all these mighty deeds with [their] own eyes”, and 2) the specific rundown of events Moses shares.
Moses reminds the people that they have seen the mighty deeds of God. They have not heard about it from someone else or read it in a newspaper. They saw it. They lived it. They experienced it. In our day and age, many of us look for inspiration from other people. Just tonight, I had to coach our middle school basketball game because our head coach was out sick (we lost…), and one of the boys said that during every timeout or break in the action he needed me to give him a motivational speech. He was joking with me, but that exchange reminded me of the fact that too often we do seek other people to motivate us to do what we already know how to do. Moses here is urging the Israelites to remember what God has done for them, personally and communally. God has done some great things for us too, but we have to remember to pause and realize what He has been doing.
Secondly, Moses recounts specific moments and events. He speaks of the exodus from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptian army, provision in the wilderness, and even judgment on those who oppose God and His chosen leaders. God is working all around us, and He has called us to something great for His kingdom. He provides for us and establishes a track record of His faithfulness. Sometimes though we forget or ignore all that He has done, and we just rush past them. Sometimes we simply get blinded by the misfortune we experience and chalk it up to Him forgetting us or punishing us. Sometimes we simply choose not to acknowledge Him. Moses reminded the people about these events because it is the basis for their continued obedience and trust in God for the future and His future promises. In the midst of all the things going on today, I encourage you to stop and pause as we begin this new year. Remember the great things God has done for YOU, apply the lessons, and trust the track record of faithfulness God has provided to YOU. Anyway, I was just thinking…
**I am also excited to announce that on January 31, 2018 my ministry colleague, and friend, Gabe Jones will be writing a guest post for “I Was Just Thinking…” You do not want to miss his post!**