Remember and Obey
Open Your Bible
Deuteronomy 11:1-32, 1 John 5:1-4
I’ve been telling my stories to my daughter in the car when we are driving. Driving back from choir practice in the dark, I told her what it felt like when my parents got divorced (surprising and confusing). Driving to cross country practice, I told her about my first date with her papa (I thought it was a first date, he thought it was a last date). She won’t know my stories if I don’t tell her, and she can’t learn from the stories of her heritage if she doesn’t know them. The stories die with me if I don’t tell them.
God knows we are people who need stories to remember our history. Knowledge of our history is vital, but we won’t remember it unless we speak it regularly to each other and to our children. “Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds” (Deuteronomy 11:18). The remembrance of God’s character and works is the foundation of obedience. Without remembrance, we are adrift in a world without answers.
Our duty to remember is rooted in love. First, God’s commands are rooted in His love for us. He made us in love and purchased us back from sin in love so that we might be His children. On this foundation, we strive toward obedience (Deuteronomy 11:1). John writes, “This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands” (1 John 5:2).
Second, love, remembrance, and obedience are inseparable. God calls us to generational remembrance of His works (Deuteronomy 11:2). We have received the stories of those who came before, and our children cannot know what they have not seen, unless they are told. This is a serious and lifelong undertaking. We are to imprint God’s Word and works on our hearts and minds, so that we never forget (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
Third, the fruit of remembrance is obedience and blessing. God tells the Israelites if they remember and keep His commands, they will have strength, long life, and blessing (Deuteronomy 11:8-9). Remembrance produces obedience. Obedience produces strength. Strength leads to victory and blessing in Him.
This victory and blessing are rooted in God’s promises, in God’s own righteousness. It is God Himself who drives out our enemies. It is in His strength that we are strong. His hand is at work from start to finish. He offers us the inheritance of blessing in Christ alone. This is the best blessing we can offer to others: teaching them to remember their Creator.
We live in a generation of forgetfulness, that often scoffs at obedience, and makes light of faithfulness. It is for this reason that we also too often find ourselves in a generation of weakness and cowardice, adrift. If we would see our children and our spiritual communities prosper, we must know and remember the Word and the works of God.