Thoughts on Deuteronomy #8 — Remember how you provoked the LORD

2nd April, 2013 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

The Bible exhorts us to remember many things. We are to remember God’s goodness to us and thank Him. We are to remember the lilies and birds and stop fretting that God will take care of us. Every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember that Jesus’ died for us. This morning I learned about one more thing God calls us to remember: remember how we have provoked the Lord.

In his address to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 9, Moses tells the people, “Remember and never forget how you provoked the LORD your God to anger in the desert.” He then reviews the account of the golden calf and Israel’s great idolatry only three months after leaving the slavery of Egypt. But he doesn’t stop there. Moses asks them to remember how their sin provoked the LORD to anger at Taberah, Massah, and Kibroth Hattaavah, and let’s not forget Israel’s great sin at Kadesh Barnea where they  allowed fear to be greater than God’s power.

The question arises in my mind: why remember how we have provoked the Lord? Hasn’t he forgiven us if we have confessed our sin?  Of course! Our God is faithful to forgive all who repent and confess sin so remembering that God has forgiven us must in some way be helpful for us.

Our sin has patterns: patterns of fear, patterns of desire, patterns of selfishness.  If we remember how we have sinned in the past, without getting caught up in its guilt, we will see patterns of how we typically sin. From these patterns we can gain wisdom as to how to approach temptation when we face it today.

Maybe more importantly, though, we must remember how we provoked the Lord in the past because we will at the same time then remember how this great God who owns the heavens has so graciously and repeatedly shown mercy to us.

Moses then tells the Israelites what the LORD expected of them. “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” (Deut. 10:12-13)

God is so good and He is so good to us. His commands are for our good, and remembering how we have provoked Him in the past is an aid in helping us love Him better in the present.

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