My eyes welled up in reading this passage. “Do not forget the LORD your God.” On the one hand it seems an impossible thing to do, forget God. We are at seminary after all. But on the other hand, it is the easiest thing in the world. When life is good we are too busy to remember the Lord. We have houses and wealth, herds and flocks. We have plans with friends, classes, parties, appointments, and relationships…and when things are bad we are too sad or lost or angry to find God again. “Why do I have to hurt, or be sick, why did she have to die, or can’t this just be easier?” we ask. But instead of asking God, we ask ourselves, getting caught up in the spiritual battles that bring us down. Yet it is not ourselves but God whose power it is to give us both joys and challenges. God seems so distant when we are in pain, and we are too angry to call out Christ’s name. But when we prosper, when we succeed, it is then that we reject God by thinking we have gotten for ourselves our prosperity.
At this point in the story of Deuteronomy, the Israelites stand at the Jordan, poised and ready to enter into the promised land of milk and honey. Here, Moses, who will not go with them, gives them one last piece of advice: “Do not forget the LORD your God.” Together they are given this command to remember as they embark on a new journey that we know will be full of trials, battles, and challenges. Together they are called to stop and remember. Remember the Exodus, the slavery, leaving Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, the wilderness, the manna, and the water. God has provided for the Israelites and for us. Let us then, together, stop and remember. Think about the many blessings in your life: friends, family, education. Now think about the trials that you have faced. The times when you have walked through the wilderness and not known when the dryness and thirst would end.
Seminary can be a place of joy and a place of trial, but our God will provide for and lead us through. Let us now, together, in this time of Lent, remember. Let us not forget the LORD our God.
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