Remembering! Thanking! Praising!
6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land -- a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
we want to give an opportunity to share experiences of God's grace and faithfulness. God has worked in amazing ways in the lives of his people, and we want to rejoice with one another. Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. We want to give God the honor for what he has done for us. We want to give thanks to God for the harvest in our lives. For some of us this has been a year of material blessings. For others it has been a year of spiritual renewal and growth. And again for others there has been a time of salvation in other ways. Let us Remember... and give Thanks to God.
The text from Deuteronomy 8 invites us to look back on our lives and to give thanks to Him who has given us so bountifully everything that we need. However, the writer does more than giving an invitation. He utters a warning to the people of God: "When you have eaten and are satisfied... be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God." And "when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."
God had brought the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. He delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh's army and led them through the middle of the sea. God had sustained them and cared for them in their long journey through the desert. He had fed them with heavenly manna and given them fresh water from the rock.
The Song of Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15 is an expression of the deep and sincere gratitude of the people for God's delivery from certain destruction. "The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation" (v.2).
However, as human nature has it, we tend to forget. And we tend to take credit for our success and wealth. The writer admonishes the people of God not to forget His mighty act of salvation.
But they did forget. Remember, when their leader Moses went up into the mountain to receive God's commandments? They had built an idol - a golden calf that they could see and worship. They had built something with their own hands, something that they could see and touch and be proud of. They had forgotten that it was God who had saved them.
I wonder: Can we identify with the story of the Israelite people? Similar to the Israelite experience, many of our people (some of them are still in our midst today) were miraculously saved from the fury of the Communist regime. They experienced the agony of separation from loved ones, hard labor and starvation. Day and night the cried to God for salvation.
God answered their cry. The Mennonite people were able to escape and come to this land of plenty. This land were milk and honey flows. The Mennonite people have prospered in this land. The blessings of God have been with us in all these years.
And we have reached the stage of which the writer is warning us. Even in these uncertain times many of us have well-paying jobs that afford us to sustain a certain lifestyle. We eat and drink and we are satisfied. We have established ourselves and we have built our homes. We drive reliable and expensive cars. Our endeavours are successful. We have made it...
"Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Russia, - out of the oppression of the Communist Regime." Remember that it was the Lord your God who brought you into this rich and prosperous land."
When we stop and remember we see the hand of God at work. Our faithful response to God is that we offer our gratitude and praise for everything that he has done in our lives.
Let us pause and remember...
Where have we seen the grace and faithfulness of God in our lives recently? Where have we experienced the deliverance of God from difficult situations?
Do we see God's grace in our material success? Do we see God at work in our family relationships? Do we see his mighty hand in the skill of a doctor? In the friendly encouragement of a friend in a time of need?
Let us remember the works of God in our midst. And let us be careful that we do not forget what God has done Let us be careful that our gratitude and humility are not turned into arrogance and pride.
Each of us has experienced the presence of God in our lives. We have seen his love and grace at work in many ways. Today we want to express our Thanks and our Praise to God as we Remember the work of His hand. Let us give humble praise to God...
Who would like to share? You can stand right where you are and the mike will be brought to you, or you can come to the front.
We have remembered the faithfulness of God in our lives:
Let us continue to give praise to God for all that He has done. Let us remember our Savior... and let us give praise!