Remember God’s Saving Work

Deuteronomy 8:11-20 Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

 


 

Outline:

  1. Forgetting leads to disobedience
  2. Forgetting leads to pride
  3. Forgetting leads to false worship
  4. Forgetting leads to death.

Introduction:

Good Morning!

If you have been worshipping with us here at Grace for the last couple months we have been sitting in the judgement cloud of Hosea. Pastor Dave has been walking us through the layers of Israel and Judah’s sin to which God was not going to overlook any longer. Judgement was coming and Israel was going to reap the covenant curses that God promised in Deuteronomy.

Pastor Dave has brought us back to the book of Deuteronomy a couple times throughout our study of Hosea and this morning we are going to spend about 30 minutes in one text of Deuteronomy since the primary purpose of Hosea, like the rest of the prophets, was to call Israel back to obedience.

As dark as the message of Hosea was, we must remember that God was not over- reacting. He was not using hyperbolic language or blowing Israel’s sin out of proportion. Israel should not have been surprised by God’s judgment as they had succumbed to all kinds of impurities, rejected the knowledge of God and had chased after other gods. God was extremely clear about what Israel could expect if they rejected Him in the land that he had given them.

The text before us today in Deuteronomy is going to help us understand God’s righteousness as it relates to his judgment on Israel in the book of Hosea and although we are not under the old covenant and living in the Promised Land this text has a word for us.

I have been removed from seminary for about 3 years now but I must admit that the last 5-6 years has been one of the most spiritually dry seasons in my life. I do want to be clear it was not because of seminary. Seminary in fact brought grace, passion, and spiritual oxygen, but this spiritual desert has lasted many years. In the past I probably would have said that this was due to some very stressful seasons in my life with balancing school, work, and an internship along with family relationships, but this text has shown me my own heart and maybe more importantly it has shown me the Lord’s purpose and plan through this spiritually dry season.

I wanted you all to know this because if you feel you are in a spiritual desert right now Deuteronomy 8 has a word for you. If you feel that your relationship with LORD is growing and that your joy in the LORD is full, this text has a word for you. If you do not know what it means to have a relationship with the God of the universe this text has a word for you. Kids, if you are wondering why mom and dad have so many rules and if discipline is really necessary this text has a word for you.

Since there is not enough time to give a complete overview and summary of Deuteronomy let me just give you a couple bulletin points that we should remember as we work through Deuteronomy 8:11-20 this morning.

Deuteronomy is the last book of the Torah and like the first 4 books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers it draws us into God’s redemptive history. There are two large components to the Torah. God’s promises which includes redeeming a people for himself and the Mosaic covenant. Now, the book of Deuteronomy begins with God’s call for Israel to enter the Promised Land after they had been wandering in the desert for 40 years. The first generation of Israelites out of Egypt, who failed to trust the Lord and take the land as he commanded, had perished and the second generation was now being commanded to enter the Promised Land.

If we remember back to Genesis 12 God promised Abraham, the land of Canaan and despite their time of slavery in Egypt and Pharaoh’s desire to suppress Israel God continued to multiply Israel. God then ultimately rose up Moses to deliver His people from slavery and to give them the land the he had promised Abraham hundreds of years earlier.

Deuteronomy was written to remind the second generation of God’s promises and also to uphold the covenant that God had made with Israel at Sinai. Deuteronomy was meant to serve as a guide book for Israel: to remind Israel of God’s Covenant promises as well as detailed instructions for worshipping God rightly and enjoying the land as God intended.

It is in our text this morning that we are going to see God’s grace towards Israel as he provided instructions that would ensure Israel lived long in the land as they enjoyed God’s rule and blessing.

Would you pray with me that God’s word would be heard this morning and more importantly that God’s Word would cause obedient responses in each of our hearts?

If you are not there already please turn with me to Deuteronomy 8. We will primarily be in verses 11 through 20.

As we dig into the text I want to start by giving you the two fold structure of our text. Verses 11-18 continue the call for Israel to not forget the Lord when they enter the promised land and verses 19-20 serve as a warning for Israel if they forget the Lord.

Now, we need to zoom out just a bit further to put our passage in the context of Deuteronomy 8. The first half of chapter 8 is a call to obedience and this obedience is grounded on God’s preservation of Israel in the desert for 40 years. It is important for us to notice that there is one verb that connects the two large sections of chapter 8. The verb is “take care” or also translated to “watch” or “keep”. Notice in verse 1 we have the command to “be careful” to do and then in verse 11 we have “take care.” Chapter 8 as a whole is about guarding and keeping the commandments of God.

What should also be seen in addition to the structure of this chapter is the twofold way Moses exhorted Israel to obedience. There is first the positive call “to remember” and then the inverse call “to not forget.”

Verses 1-10 provide the positive call to remember the commandments in order that Israel might receive the blessings of the Lord, while verses 11-20 serves as inverse call to not forget and a warning for not remembering the Lord. It is my hope this morning that you are going to see the deadly progression if we fail to remember the saving work of God.

The first point from the text this morning is: Forgetting leads to disobedience.

Notice in verse 11 the initial call to “take care” is followed by the result if one does not take care to remember the Lord. If we work backward in verse 11 it saying that the manner in which Israel would first be guilty of forgetting the Lord is by disobeying his commandments and his rules and his statutes.

Or maybe this point is most clearly made if we turn this verse into a question. What would it look like if Israel did not take care to remember the saving and preserving work of God? It would look like Israel not keeping the commandments rules and statutes that God had given them.

We should see from this first verse the relationship between forgetting the Lord and obedience. The first thing that God implicitly exhorts Israel to do in order to not forget him is to obey his commands. The first verse of our text points to obedience as a primary way of remembering the saving work of God. The inverse then is true, disobeying the Lord would suggest that Israel is not guarding or keeping the commandments of God and thus forgetting the work of God in their redemption.

I would like to pause for a minute already for some application. How many of us when we hear, keep the commandments, or you must obey, are filled with joy and thus motivated to obey? I think if we are honest our first inclination is to stiff arm the commands or maybe to find a way around the rules, or we might even try to find a way to “interpret” the rule in a way that would make the rules more comfortable or convenient.

But I want to draw you attention back to the beginning of chapter 8. The purpose behind God’s call to complete obedience is filled with blessing. In verse 1 we are told that the outcome of obedience to the whole command is that Israel would multiply and live long in the land that God was giving them. The blessing does not stop there though. In verses 6-10 we see that God is also going to grant convenience, comfort and security in the Promised Land. God’s call for Israel’s complete obedience is in fact for their blessing and good.

Kids, young adults, those of you under the roof of your parents, how have you been responding to your parents instruction? Have you been obedient? Have you taken short cuts? Kids, God has commanded that you are to honor your father and mother. The way that you can honor your parent’s authority is by obeying. But Kids guess what? God promises blessing for obedience. Good things are promised when we obey. When you are obeying your parents you are obeying God.

Parents, have you been diligent in expecting obedience from your kids? I have only a small taste of the consistency that it takes with our 20 month old, but Parents our consistency matters because God expects consistent obedience from us. As parents we also can model the heart of God when demanding obedience by blessing our kids when they are obedient. It seems a bit easier at least for me to discipline when disobedience arises, but how well do we bless our kids when they are obedient?

I would also like to encourage the parents here that verse 11 gives us the rationale for obedience and that is so that we do not forget the Lord’s saving work in our lives. As you discipline for acts of disobedience, remember the Lord’s saving grace in your life. As you bless them for obedience remember the saving work of God and what that has purchase for you.

This text has served as rebuke during my spiritual dry season of life. When I take an inventory of the level of my obedience in the different areas of my life I have often chosen comfort over fighting for joy. I have chosen my preferences over seeking the Lord through prayer or spending time in the word. I might have said to you over these last couple years prior to preparing for this sermon that the external factors of life have provoked this dry season, but I should have been pointing at the areas of my life where I was not being obedient.

The first point from the text this morning was “Forgetting leads to disobedience.” For those of you here that are trusting in Christ let the progression of this first point set in. When we forget the saving work of Jesus we will quickly find ourselves acting in disobedience. When we remember the saving work of Jesus, his love for us, his call on our lives and the reward for allegiance to Jesus we obey. Remember that just as God rescued Israel from slavery, the pursuit of the Egyptians, thirst, starvation, and exposure before Moses went up onto Sinai to receive the commandments, Jesus purchased our redemption while we were dead in our trespasses and sin. We must remember that God’s call for obedience is wrapped up in our justification.

This brings us to the second point from the text: Forgetting Leads to Pride.

I am seeing this in verses 12-17. Verse 11 is the call to guard ourselves from forgetting the Lord and that forgetting the Lord looks like not keeping His commands. Verses 12-17 reveal what happens to our hearts when we forget the Lord and are stumbling in disobedience. I believe there are 2 ways in these verses that we see pride as a deterrent to forgetting the saving work of God.

Look at verses 12-17.

In the first half of Deuteronomy chapter 8 God reminds Israel about his 40 years of provision. God had provided what they needed during their time in the wilderness and they were preserved despite the testing, hunger and discipline that they faced in the wilderness and if we had time to read the first half of chapter 8 carefully we would see that God was after Israel’s heart throughout their time in the wilderness. The primary purpose of the forty years in the desert was to see what was in Israel’s heart.

Notice in verses 12-17 that God’s concern for Israel’s heart is mentioned twice; once in verse 14 and then again in verse 17, but we should also notice that God’s warning to Israel comes before their context changes. Israel spent 40 years in the desert and every day that they were out there was another reminder of their dependence on God and the first generation’s disobedience for not obeying the Lord to take the land.

In verses 14 and 17 the context for remembering the saving work of God moves from hunger and discipline to comfort and plenty. God warns Israel that when they enter the Promised Land and enjoy the blessings that he promised that he is still after their hearts. Just as God used the wilderness to humble Israel in order to know what was in their hearts, God warns Israel to not forget the Lord in their comfort and wealth.

I would also like to point out that I think there are two stages of pride in this section. Verse 14 seems to be describing a negligent pride. Forgetting God’s saving work is provoked by full bellies and comfortable homes. This is just a warning at this point since Israel has not enjoyed these things yet, but God is reminding them that their obedience of God’s commands should not be contingent on their context.

Israel is to remember God’s redeeming work in their lives in the desert and in the land of plenty. God is after Israel’s heart both in discipline and in plenty.

The second stage of pride is in verse 17. It reads, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.”

Do you see the progression from negligent pride to atheistic pride? In verse 14 the heart is lifted up which leads to forgetting the Lord’s redeeming work to the heart being lifted up in a manner that actually deny’s the work of the Lord in verse 17. The lifting up of the heart in verse 14 feels like the type of pride that says to God I am ok right now, I don’t really seem to need you. While the pride in verse 17 is atheistic. The heart condition in verse 17 is not a forgetful one, but a heart that ignores, disregards, or completely rejects the reality that it was in fact God that provided both the strength and wealth.

The second point from this text is that forgetting the Lord leads to pride. When we forget the saving work of God in our lives we become disobedient and prideful. As we work through this text the Holy Spirit has probably already begun to address areas in your heart that you have been disobedient, but the text presses in further. God warns Israel of stumbling into pride when their context of desert living changes to living in paradise because pride will cause Israel to forget the Lord.

I believe the text reveals a negligent or careless pride that comes from believing that once our physical needs are met we are no longer dependent on God, while the pride in verse 17 reveals an atheistic pride that suggests it was not God at all that provided the wealth, but it was actually one’s personal strength, wisdom and planning that brought the wealth.

Which areas in your life have you become careless instead of careful to remember God’s redeeming work in your life? Which areas in your life have you actually been living as though God does not exist?

It is so easy to look in the mirror and think; man my work place is so lucky to have me. Or how about bitterness that stems from pride when we say in our hearts “Do my co-workers value my contribution enough?”

Or how about your tithing? Has your pride reached a level of atheism in your heart that says every time the plate goes around, “this is my money and I will give God this much money each month,” rather than a heart that says, “how can I be generous with the resources that God has given me?”

Now, I do need to make a point of clarification. Notice in verses 14-17 that the wealth and comfort is not the problem. It is the response of the heart to the wealth and the comfort that God is warning against. The wealth and comfort for Israel should have been a sign of God’s blessing and provoked right worship. God is after a heart that is obedient and desires to worship him rightly despite the spiritual or physical season that we might find ourselves in.

May our hearts respond towards God the way Paul responded in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

Our earthly context should not determine our level of obedience.

This brings us to our third point from the text: Forgetting leads to false worship.

The first half of verse 19 continues to present the slippery slope into deeper and deeper sin when we are not careful to remember the redeeming work of God in our lives.

We have seen that forgetting God’s redemptive work leads to disobedience and forgetting God’s redemptive works causes us to slip into pride and now this disobedience and pride slips into false worship. The Lord is warning Israel that if they fail to remember God’s commands then false worship is inevitable.

Let’s think about the logic of this progression for a minute. It is inevitable because from disobedience comes an atheist pride that begins to believe that God is not the provider and sustainer and therefore since I have brought about my own wealth through my own strength and wisdom then I must be wise enough to accurately attribute value to things and also bring things to past and it is at this point that you begin to value yourself and since you view yourself as most valuable you start placing value on other things. The minute that we being to value anything differently than how God values things we have stumbled into false worship.

If we value anyone or anything more than God we have stumbled into false worship.

We must not ignore what is going on in our hearts when we are disobeying. We are saying I know best, or even though God said this, I am able to see more clearly that this over here is better for me. At this point God’s commands are “second” to my desires and if they are second then this means that my authority must be ultimate and we place ourselves above God.

As we continue to disobey our pride grows and as our pride grows God becomes smaller and when God becomes non-existent we begin to decide what or who we want god to be.

For some us our desire might be for loving and healthy family. For some it might mean that promotion that would give you the visibility that you feel you have earned. For some it might mean comfort and for others it might be food or how your body looks.

We all place value on these things, but this text warns us against valuing anything above God and this would include valuing the blessings or gifts of God above Him.

I want to make just one more observation from this text before we move to the last point.

Although the relationship between the heart and right worship is not explicitly made in this text it is my hope that you are able to see how the heart and worship are connected. Disobedience begins in the heart and when our hearts begin to be governed by our sinful desires it produces idol worship.

When our passion is not for righteousness and seeking after God we begin the heart progression of disobedience to false worship.

In case you thought the progression was over there is one more devastating result if Israel forgets God’s redeeming work.

This brings us to our last point from the text: Forgetting leads to Death.

When we fail to remember the saving work of the Lord the ultimate result will be death. Look at the last half of verse 19 and verse 20 with me.

God warns Israel that if they go after other gods and worship them they will surely perish. As I mentioned in the introduction Deuteronomy is the guide book for Israel as they make their way to the Promised Land. They will soon be enjoying the generational promise that God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but God is warning them that if they turn from Him and serve other gods they will surely perish.

Israel is going to be a firsthand witness of the destruction that will occur for disobedience and false worship. In verse 20 it says, “Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you.” Israel is going to observe the judgment of God on false worship. God does not just provide a warning for Israel in Deuteronomy 8 of punishment for forgetting him; he is going to show them the cost of false worship.

Disobedience is serious business. Not obeying the voice of the Lord will result in death.

Listen to the words of Hosea chapter 2:13, “And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the Lord.”

Israel was warned prior to their entrance into the Promised Land and after decades of disobedience, false worship, chasing after other Gods and forgetting the Lord God is calling Israel’s sin into account in this verse. As Pastor Dave continues to work through Hosea I encourage you to listen for the indictment on Israel’s disobedience and failure to remember the Lord.

I want to conclude with a bit more application. According to the last verse in our text the primary reason that Israel would perish from the land is tied directly to disobedience. The primary way from our text that we can obey the Lord right now is to obey his voice. So for those of you here that may not know what the voice of the Lord is calling you do to right now let me read a couple verses:

God says in regards to Jesus in Matthew 17:5, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased listen to him.”

God the Father commands us to listen to his Son Jesus and so if you are asking what does Jesus require of each and everyone one of us? Mathew 16:24 says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

What Jesus demands from us is to follow him to the cross. What this ultimately means is for you to lay down whatever pride and worth you believe you bring to the table and trust exclusively in Jesus. Crucifixion was ugly, painful, humiliating and would prove to be certain death for those that were crucified. The Christian life can be ugly and painful and humiliating but we must Jesus provides a promise for those that are willing to die to themselves in this live. Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Losing your life for Christ is the only way to save your life. There are two life paths in this verse and they both offer a promise. The first path is to do everything in your own power to save your own life, but the promise for trying to save one’s own live is that you will actually lose it. The second path is to lose your life, submit to the God of the universe and to obey His Son by following him and the promise is gaining life for eternity.

There may be some of you here this morning that have yet to submit to Jesus, but in love and through the gracious warning of Deuteronomy 8 and Matthew 16 repent of your disobedience, pride and false worship, turn to the Lord and trust in the work of Jesus Christ. Or like the nations and those in Israel that would not turn to the lord you will perish.

The cross of Jesus was real, but if we understand the cross as a metaphor like Jesus uses it in Mathew 16 we should see that death is inevitable so we will either die in this life to our own sin, pride and self-worship or we will suffer the lasting death of hell for eternity.

Israel decided to continue in their disobedience, forgot the Lord and they suffered the consequences.

The main application then for those that are currently trusting in the Lord is simple: Remember the saving work of God in your life.

Remember what Jesus accomplished on the cross on your behalf. Remember his unconditional love for you, that while you were yet a sinner Christ died for you. Remember the promise of the indwelling Spirit which is the down payment of your inheritance. Remember that you have been chosen, called, justified, purified and you will be glorified at the return of Jesus.

There is a reason here at Grace that we begin with an exhortation and the assurance of salvation. It is for us to remember as believers that we have already been forgiven. There is a reason that we sing gospel saturated songs and it is to help us remember our salvation and the work of God in our redemption. There is a reason that we end with tithing and announcements and that is because the way that we can be careful to not forget the Lord is by obeying. Tithing allows us to obey with our monetary resources and the announcements allow us to be obedient with our time, resources and gifts.

Would you pray with me?