The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is the written record of Moses reminding the Children of Israel of what brought them to this point in their history.
He reminds them of the Mighty power of God shown on their behalf in bringing them out of Egypt and in sustaining them for Forty years in the Desert. He confronts them with their own unbelief and sin that had so long delayed their entry into the blessings of the Promised Land and warned them of the dangers and curses that would come upon them if they sinned by alliances with the people of the land or relapsed back into unbelief.
This current generation of Israel was too young at the time to be held responsible for their parent’s sin yet the same proneness to disobedience and faithlessness was constantly present in their hearts.
We would have thought that such warnings were unnecessary.
God’s blessings and providential sustenance were ever before them in the daily return of the Manna and also the water that gushed from the rock so miraculously.
They were daily reminded of the Wrath of God because they viewed His Sentence being carried out on the previous generation withering away for their past sin and provoking unbelief.
Added to this, they were forever reminded of the holiness of God by the constant requirement to approach the His indwelt Tabernacle bringing sacrifices for sin and atonement and thanksgiving.
Despite all these helps to remembrance, Moses recognized our human frailty and tendency to forget and take for granted God’s blessings, commandments and past judgments.
If there was ever a time in the history of Christianity when so many vital things have been forgotten that should have been remembered, this is it!
There is hardly any doctrine or commandment found in God’s word that has not been conveniently forgotten or treated as an obsolete relic from less enlightened times.
The fact that the flow of the ‘times’ has gone so much against Scriptural Christianity has only served to accelerate the ‘forgetting ‘ and ignoring of so much Scriptural teaching and Christian belief.
Whatever else we may forget, we should remember that God does not forget and as judgment came on the disobedient in the past it certainly will fall on the disobedient and unbelieving in the future.
A life on Rails??
I recently purchased an educational DVD on ‘the Valley of the Kings’ in Egypt. I am always interested in archaeology and am intrigued by this particular are.
I was no more than one third way through the program when I realized that I had borrowed this exact ‘DVD’ some years ago from the library and had forgotten I had ever seen it.
I am sure most of us have times when we believe that we are breaking ‘new ground’ and varying our routine yet find we are doing something we have actually done some time ago.
It is almost as if we are travelling in a large circle and gravitate back to the same places of interest and fascination.
We pick up books that look interesting and find we have read them long ago.
These and many other things give us the ‘déjà vu’ experience.
The influences that work upon us act largely unperceived and subconsciously. Even when we seem to ourselves that we have ‘gotten out of our rut’, we soon find that we have gotten into another.
According to Sherlock Holmes, his brother Mycroft’s life ran on rails and any deviation from his routine was akin to a planet leaving its orbit.
The ruts we get into are not always bad things.
In various parts of the U.S. there are still to be seen Wagon trails and wheel ruts from the pioneering wagon trains heading West in search of a new life and room to grow.
The fact that these ‘trails ‘were successfully used by others encouraged many who would come after to use them as well.
Though this did not make the journey completely free from hazard and danger it at least gave those who followed a sense of direction and a known way to follow.
I guess if we must get into a ‘rut’ maybe we can choose the best of them.
For the Christian it is far wiser to choose the ‘good old way’ of the Scripture and the ‘path of the flock’ than walk in our own ways and hazard a departure from the Truth.
The Titfield Thunderbolt
Was a 1953 British film about the effort to save a branch railway line from being closed down.
It well described the changing of the times and the passing of the old way of doing things.
Once something is lost it can seldom be recovered.
There is always the tension between what we preserve for posterity and continued use and what we replace as obsolete, outmoded or unsafe.
We are often so caught up in the tide of innovation and invention that we discard the tried and true without a thought or consideration and regret it ever afterwards.
At the other extreme we can hold on to something even when it has passed all genuine reason for keeping it.
The Christian especially must be wary of throwing aside truths and principals that appear to the casual observer outdated and outmoded just for the sake of keeping up with the times and trends.
It is these very things that have sustained Christianity when most under attack from its enemies and in danger of being overcome.
To throw aside Scriptural truths and God’s revealed way of Salvation and replace it with Man pleasing doctrines and hype and sensation is the surest way to final ruin and eternal regret.
On the other hand we must not preserve things that we have always done for no better reason than we have always done them and therefore see no reason to change.
The great wisdom is to know what to keep and what to get rid of.
We must cry for God’s help to preserve what He has given to us and grace to cast a way ,when necessary those things that had no business being there in the first place.