The start of Deuteronomy’s a slow read. It’s a Moses monologue, with little to no forward movement of the Israelites. It’s as if I’m stuck right there with them—all caught up in their adventure, eager to make it to the land of milk and honey and all things good. But if anyone gets to ramble, it’s Moses. His time is running out. He’s nearing his own little end, staring at Promised Land horizons just beyond his permissible reach. Well done, good and faithful. He gets the forever Promised Land instead.
Deuteronomy could be an academy awards speech, or a boastful recollection of Moses’ resume, or a speech imploring those trailing behind him to please forget me not. But Moses doesn’t do things ordinarily. He is righteous, ready to use his platform for thanksgiving and praise and God-glory. He’s the mouthpiece the Lord uses to wake up forgetful Israelites: forget Me not!
My Israel, don’t you remember?
Remember your rescue? Remember your release, where chains fell and authority dwindled and walls of Red Sea tumbled down, swallowed up Egypt trailing close behind? Remember how I split seas for you? How I fought long and hard and mighty for you? How I destroyed all who weren’t you, all who bowed to a handmade Baal? How I never ever up and left you? 40 years in your wild—hemming you in before, behind. Enveloped by desert in all directions, I handed My manna to your hunger. A new taste, with satisfaction and some heaven and a “thank You” in every bite. A 40-year wilderness hike—still somehow your clothing’s thread intact, your feet strong and able all this while, all this way. Remember how despite miles of restless motion, I multiplied You? Remember how we defeated whole people groups together, drove out rivals together? How we took down nations tougher and braver and taller than you? You were outnumbered and small but you’re Mine—and remember? I told you we’d win.
Isn’t that enough? I see your memory of Me graying to nothing. Watch yourselves. Don’t you dare forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your fickle hearts. Write it down, permanent and pretty. Tell your children and your grandchildren and your grandchildren’s children, around campfires and dinner tables and scribbled in journals you’ll read and reread. Display your story, loud and lovely—don’t keep or contain for yourself. Talk about your Me story when you stay and when you go, when you lie down and when you get up.
Don’t you see your story’s a rare one? Don’t grow immune to its storybook splendor. Yours will be an age-old tale that they can’t forget—ever-after generations will read the reality your own set of eyes saw, wishing it was theirs to claim. They’ll call you chosen, etched in pages of unchangeable, timeless Word—let that replace your name. They’ll see seas split and chains fall and redemption too—but it will look a little different. Not as tangible, and right-there as your own.
So won’t you remember me? Won’t you obey me? Won’t you call Me yours?
Don’t you wonder why I’ve held tight to you? Why I rescued you from slavery and from rivalry, placed you safe amongst plenty and beauty? Why I used every ounce of My might to protect, to provide for, to set free and set apart My chosen people? So you’d remember the God that goes with, the God of immeasurable might and yet gentle touch. So you’d claim none beside Me, call Me matchless and only. To humble you, to bow you low, so you’d feel small in light of infinity. To test you, whether you’re gold or gold-coated—so I’d know just what makes up the crevices of your heart. To discipline you, and a hundred ancestors before you. To train you: to abide, to obey, to forget Me not.
Be a generation of rememberers, and the world around will take notice. The nations will teach and admire My wise and understanding and set-apart people. My chosen people. Don’t forget escaping the grip of Egypt slavery, or trekking safe between walls of water, or hiking to the lead of My living spirit en route to this place. Don’t stop revering Me. They’ll watch, they’ll learn. Someday I’ll turn their stone hearts to flesh and they’ll remember you and revere Me too. Don’t forget the new covenant—you’re not bound to the one before. Don’t forget My covenant of Love—sworn to a thousand generations of My lovers and obeyers and someday disciples and rememberers that refuse to forget.
When you reach your little finish-line paradise, don’t forget or lose your wonder. Forget not your fathers—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—as you receive the place they deserved but I reserved. Just for you. Wonder at the thriving cities your hands did not build, homes full of what you didn’t provide, harvests you didn’t plant, wells you didn’t dig. In your relief, forget Me not. In your satisfaction, forget Me not. When you lack nothing, forget Me not. When my Promised Land pledge stands its wild ground before you, be small—you didn’t get yourself here—and forget Me not.
I am a fire consuming, a jealous God. I crave every bit of your distracted attention. Oh, but I am abundant in mercy. I will not abandon or destroy you or forget the very covenant I promised you. I only forget what I forgive. My Israel, welcome home. Stay Mine here, and just wait until you see the Land I’m readying for your Someday. I think you’ll like it Here too.
my God: I didn’t get myself here. help help help me forever remember.