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Precious Memories

Scripture: Deuteronomy 32:1-7; Text: Deoteronomy 32:7

As in all scripture, there are many important truths that we need to understand. It is not always fun to learn, but it can be today, if we love God and His Holy Word. This passage begins with an understanding that God has divinely inspired His word. Verses 1-3 tell us that the word of God or the Bible as we often refer to it, came down from heaven (2 Peter 1:21). Verse 4 reminds us of the perfection of God, thus all He does is perfect. Verse 5 informs us that we are not perfect, in fact we are far from it. Verse 6 helps us see that God is our Father and verse 7 (our text) calls upon us to remember the past.

There is a certain amount of that that has already been done. We see saints we have not seen in a while and we think about special times and talk about them with joy and gladness. Such reminiscing is not over yet. Later when we sit around the tables and enjoy the delicious foods, no doubt such remembrances will continue. All that is good, it is part of what this scripture is talking about. But we do not want to understand it in part, we need to see the whole picture of truth which God has lovingly declared to us. We need to ask, "What is God saying to us, what does He want us to learn?"

To answer those questions, we must first consider this scripture as it related to the Jews and then as it relates to us. To them and us, remembrance is a vital part of our worship and service to God. Though they worshipped quite differently from us, they worshipped the same true and living God as do we today. Their worship was composed of sacrifices and offerings and it was designed to involve all 5 of the senses. SIGHT was involved because the Tabernacle, Temple and even the garments of the priests and high priest, used brilliant colors. HEARING was involved because of the singing of praises and the reading of the holy laws God had given. TOUCH was involved because the sacrifices were touched on the head to symbolize that it represented them. SMELL was involved because the sacrifices were burned and there was a familiar smell about it. TASTE was also involved for with many of the offerings, part was sacrificed and the rest was eaten by those who gave it. In every way, with all their senses, they were to be reminded of the worship of God.

We are to remember that all those sacrifices and offerings were to symbolize the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. As they sacrificed for sins, we recognize that we too are sinners and that Jesus was our sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2). Their deliverance from their enemies, reminds us that God has also delivered us. Our greatest enemy is satan, but Christ defeated him (1 Peter 5:8). Even when we go back in the Old Testament to the very beginning, in the creation of the world, we are made to remember something special. God created the world and He has made us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

God is teaching us to value HISTORY. Do you realize how important a record of the past really is? (1). We must learn from our past SUCCESSES OR FAILURES. If we do not, we are destined to repeat the same mistakes again and again. If we do learn, we can use our successes to learn how to become even more sucessful. We can also learn from our mistakes how not to make the same mistakes again. (2). God knew that our PAST victories and blessings, could greatly encourage us for the FUTURE. So when they were about to depart from the bondage of Egypt, God gave them a MEMORIAL. (Exodus 12:14 tells of the Passover.) Later when they entered the Promised Land, He gave them another memorial. (Joshua 4:7 tells that they used twelve stones.) Thus they could remember how God had blessed them and therefore every victory became an encouragement. Because God blessed them in the past, they could trust Him more in the future (Deuteronomy 7:18). (3). History also assists us in glorifying God. The Bible says that CREATION glorifies God (Psalm 19:1). In the New Testament, Jesus suggested at His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, that if those who praised him were to stop, the stones would cry out His praise (Luke 19:40). Even so, the past glorifies God through all that He has already done for His saints in the world. Therefore, history glorifies God too. All these three reasons should help us understand the tremendous value of remembering the past.

Because that is true, God commands us to do three things. FIRST, He said in the text that we are to REMEMBER. This word is an interesting one indeed. It can have a two-fold meaning. It can mean - that we are to recall things to mind. That is we are to think again about things we previously thought upon. We see the word used in that way in Philippians 1:3 and 2 Peter 3:1. We do this kind of remembering when we reminisce. But it can also mean - to imprint or keep in the mind always. When we memorize something, for example a verse of scripture or the multiplication tables, we imprint them in the memory banks of our mind so that we will not forget them. It is used this way in Matthew 26:75 and Hebrews 13:3. By the way, this seems to be the primary emphasis in our text, although I do not believe the first meaning is excluded. So we are to keep our valuable experiences in the mind and never forget them, calling them up from time to time to be blessed by them.

SECOND, once you have kept it in your mind, and recalled it; CONSIDER it. The main idea here is to UNDERSTAND what you have remembered. What does it mean? Is it there just to think about, or talk about? Isn't there a more important reason for remembering something? I believe there is, and so does God. He wants us to try to understand what happened and why it happened. In other words, think about it, study it carefully, learn all you can from it. This idea is set forth in Matthew 6:28 and Hebrews 3:1. It is like this: money is not just for accumulating. We work to have money, but not just for the sake of possessing it. It is of greatest value to us when we spend it to acquire the necessities of life. When the money is converted into clothes, food, shelter and (yes) worship; then it is of great value and benefit. Even so, knowledge is not just for the having in the mind. It is not just to see how much knowledge we can accumulate. It is for us to assimilate that knowledge into our lives and benefit from it daily. So when we remember (the first part) and then consider or understand it (the second part), we are able to use it wisely.

THIRD, and finally we are to increase these memories and this knowledge. How? By ASKING others about their memories. The idea here is to request, not merely to ask a question to be answered. However, there are times when the questions we ask is used for the requesting of additional things to remember. We see the idea of asking as a request in Matthew 5:42 and James 4:3. In other words we need to be able to remember things a lot further back than our life time. If my remembrances are restricted to my life time, that would be only about 53 years. For some of you, the time would be more, for others less. However, when we ASK our father, he can remember farther back and if we ask the elder or older people of wisdom, such as a grandfather or greatgrandfather; of course they can remember even further back. God wants us to gain as much knowledge about the past as possible, that we may remember it and consider it. People who do that often hold PRECIOUS MEMORIES as treasures of the heart and mind.

Let me admonish you by the wisdom of the word of God, to remember the days of old, to consider the years of many generations, to ask your father and elders. I believe you will find that they will be more than glad to share their memories with you. It will brighten their day and give you quality time with them. But more importantly, your link with the past will help direct your future. It will help you avoid many mistakes they made and also keep you from learning the hard way, by experience.

We have history books in our libraries and schools teach our children history. It helps them and us maintain our link with the past. We would be at a great loss if we did not have it. What if every generation had to start over? I'll tell you, we would still be riding horses. Yet even more important than our SECULAR history is our SPIRITUAL history. When we share our past with our children and granchildren, don't just tell them about your first homerun or the biggest fish you caught. Share with them how God touched your life, how He saved you by grace, how you came forward and followed Jesus in baptism. Tell them what you remember about the great lessons of the Bible and how they have helped you live a better life.

The Bible is our spiritual history book. It does not just carry us back a generation or two, but goes back over the entire history of man. Almost 6000 years of history is told there. My how it can help us, if only we will turn to it and ask for the answers to life's problems. Right here in one of the books of the LAW we are told to remember. We need to remember God's laws because they will help us live a life that is pleasing to God. So let us remember God's laws, try to understand them, and ask others to help us. Life is too short to be embarassed about this. Reflection on the past is good, both from our personal perspective and from the perspectives of others. We do not know it all, for we have not experienced it all. Even if we had, we cannot remember it all, so we need the combined memories of one another. What a treasure chest, crammed full of my precious memories and your precious memories. What a treasure indeed!

Hopefully, we will add this homecoming day to our collection of precious memories. Remember other blessings you have enjoyed in this place as you worshipped as a child or only recently as you were blessed. Remember those who worshipped here, some now with us and others who have preceeded us to glory. Remember what God has done for you and how He has blessed others you have known. Remember all those dear saints of the past, who are recorded in the sacred pages of the Bible. Remember how God punished their sins and blessed their acts of righteousness.

Remember what God has done and thank Him for every precious memory. In remembering them, we will be inclined to remember our God, who gave us the blessings that fill our minds with precious memories. Finally take time to share these precious memories with someone else. I want to close with the words of Psalm 143:5-6. Please take them to heart, think seriously about them and obey the word of the Lord.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014