Day 38: Deuteronomy 11:1-17
Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. 2 Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; 3 the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country;4 what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. 5 It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, 6 and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. 7 But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.
8 Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you.
Every generation receives important guidance and directives from the generation that precedes it. One of the responsibilities of each generation is to pass on to those who will come after them the wisdom that they have gleaned from experience – failure and success. This is how faith is passed on through history as well, by testimony and teaching from generation to generation. Here in the book of Deuteronomy, God reminds the people of Israel that their children were not the ones who had seen firsthand how God had worked on their behalf when they were enslaved in Egypt. As they were coming into the promised land, it was going to be important that the generation who had seen God move continued to pass on their stories and experiences of faith to their children.
A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with a college student about her faith. At one point she asked me, “How do you know that it’s all true? Why are you so confident in Jesus and all the things that you believe?”
“Well,” I thought to myself, “I know this is all true because I have known people who have walked with God, and I have seen the evidence of the truth of God in their lives and heard their testimony.” Thinking that this would be an easy point to make to her, I added, “Think about all of the godly people you have known in your life and the power of their testimonies influencing your faith.”
That’s when she surprised me with one of the most disturbing phrases I have heard come from the mouth of a young person who grew up in Church and faith: “I have never known any godly people or people whose faith is actually sincere.”
As with the Israelites, we are living in an age in which our lack of testimony is contributing greatly to our lack of faith. As God commanded the Israelites, we must testify to the great things the Lord has done that we have seen with our own eyes.
Jonathan Burkey | Worship Pastor, Lima Community Church