Looking Back and Looking Forward

January 7th Student Chapel Message

Our passage this morning is Deuteronomy 8:2-11. Moses is talking to the children of Israel, who have spent 40 years wandering in the desert. They are about to cross over into the Promised Land, and Moses is speaking to the people as they stand on the line between the past and future. It is a good passage to read as we have just crossed from 2014 to 2015. How many of you were awake on New Year’s Eve when that happened? Did you count down the seconds?

We start in the middle of what Moses was saying.   Verses 2-4 read, “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.”

Remembering is important!   In our culture, we consider anything two years old to be ancient history! We are always looking to what is new, what is the latest app, what’s coming up. But God wants His people to remember. Here we are instructed to particularly remember God’s leading. How has God led you this last year? Last summer? We are to remember His working on our character. What lessons did He teach us? How has he brought our own shortcomings to our attention?

We are to remember that He lets us get hungry, and then He satisfies that hunger. Even from a literal sense, how many of you children went to bed hungry last year? I’m sure most of you had three good meals a day, every day. That’s over 1,000 meals! Do you remember? That’s God’s goodness to us. God did not let the Israelites’ clothes and shoes wear out in the desert, where they would not have been able to replace them. Did you have to go barefoot in the cold last year? Did you have clothes? I’m sure many of you have dressers stuffed with clothes, and closets. Are you grateful?

Verse 5 says, “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.” I love my son George over there…I would do anything for him. He knows that I will also keep him from straying off the right path. God loves us as His children, and cares for us. We need to remember this!

Next we have a “therefore” in verse 6. It’s the big turning point, from looking back to looking forward. “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.” These are the things we are to do as we enter into this year, a year of blessing and promise:

1. We are to keep His commandments. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” This is how we show our obedience and gratitude.

2. We are to walk in His ways. We can keep God’s commandments, but not really be walking in His ways. You might not steal from your classmate, but are you selfish? Are you kind? We need to walk in His ways.

3. We need to fear Him. Respect our Lord and Creator.

 

Let’s apply this lesson in prayer now, as we think back to last year. Was there a lesson you were taught? What physical needs were met? Pray about that. Which commandment do you need to keep better? Pray about that. If nothing comes to mind, pray that God would bring to mind what you need to work on! Finally, express your gratitude to Him. We should be thankful people. Let’s pray… •