READ: DEUTERONOMY 4:1, 5-9
Moses spoke to the people and said:
"Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.'
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?
"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."
To preserve the memory of what God has done. That was the challenge that Moses presented to the Israelites in our reading today. And what had God done for them? Well let's remember who the Israelites were. These were the people that had known a life of slavery in Egypt. These were the people about which it was written, "As their cry for release went up to God, he heard their groaning" (Exodus 2:23-24). These were the people that had stood watching as the Red Sea was parted in two and became for them the path for their freedom and victory. These were the people who were led by God, instructed by God, chosen by God. And these were the people who experienced God's closeness, whenever they called upon Him. And Moses exhorted them: don't forget these things that God has done! Etch them in your memory. Share them. Teach them to your children. Return to them in times of suffering.
What has God done in your life? When have you experienced the freedom that God brings--not from an oppressive Pharaoh, but from the bondage of your sin? How have you seen God work miracles? When have you felt led by God, instructed by God, chosen by God? When have you felt God's closeness, His personal love for you?
These are the memories that we are exhorted to preserve. These are the memories that we must share. These are the moments of encounter that we can use to teach our children about our loving Father. These are the moments that we can turn to in times of suffering. God is not distant or dormant, but is personal and active. He wants to reveal Himself to us. Today, let us recount the times that He has revealed Himself to us and give thanks for His great love.
What has God done in your life since the beginning of Lent?
When have you most profoundly experienced that God's love for you is personal?
If you could tell your children (or future children) anything about God, what would you tell them?
If you could share one experience in which you felt the closeness of God, what experience would you share?
How can you keep those memories from slipping away?
How can the memories of what God has done keep hope alive in difficult situations?
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
What will you take from your time of prayer this morning?