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12-31-2017 A Look Back Deuteronomy 32:7-8

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Nothing happened this year that I could really go back and change, no matter how much I might want it to change. One articulate Christian author wrote about the end of the year going into the new year and he said the new year seems to add a little encouragement to the winter season especially after all the effort and emotions that go along with Christmas.
In our generation today, looking back requires more effort to remember and in that you exercise yourself to be able to do that on a regular basis and that's what I want to close this year with just encouraging you with a year worth remembering. I know some of you might be saying, “I don't want to remember this year!”
Memories do fail us in some respects--and boy do I know that! but there are things that we are actually commanded to bring back to our minds and I think that's important to bring it back and we have to work to bring it back bring certain things, bring back the highlights and the lows of this year. And so it is prudent of us to reflect, as a Church, what we’ve done this year and ask was it worth it? So, let me take a couple minute to reflect on this year. This year has been one of the most dynamic years of Grace Baptist Church with Wynne and Vickie moving to Georgia. But this is not the only thing that has happened!
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Your memory is more than a storehouse of images that is just stored somewhere in your brain. There is a lot of psychological as well as physiological study that goes along with this topic.
As the late Professor, Allen Verhey, succinctly put it:
"In Scripture, […] Memory is typically constitutive of identity and determinative of conduct”
He then went on with the example of when our Lord healed the lepers and how when Jesus healed them, immediately they left. It is as if they were healed and then, “Okay that’s done!” That is just characteristic of us today! YHWH does that great thing in our lives, YHWH does that specific work, YHWH calls us out of eternal damnation and touches our lives to live with Him for Eternity, YHWH answers our prayers! We look back and all these things that have gone on and we move on and don't remember. And in no other time is this so true then immediately after we had been delivered from some distressing situation.
As I read this, I thought about that our memories are more than only a recollection of the past. Just a couple years back, Dr. Wynne Kimbrough said:
“Our memories actually shape us, and they make us into the person that we are, and the person that we will become.”
I trust that you’ll see that effect as we study this topic for a few minutes this morning. So your time of remembering will shape you and make you into the person that you will be in 2018.
What does the Bible actually say about this? The Bible actually tells us to remember. In fact there are several biblical injunctions that guide us in helping us to remember certain things and, in turn, those memories will help us as we grow this coming year. Throughout the Bible, there are numerous commands for us to not forget. The repetition that we find in the Bible is to not forget. There are many memories of ours that would fit into this category-- perhaps you will let this be the beginning of a further extended study-- but I want to give you a few points this morning with the confidence that the Bible has us remember certain, specific things.
We will look at a few passages mostly from Deuteronomy this morning. The English title "Deuteronomy" comes from the Greek Δευτερονόμιον, meaning "second law." This Greek phrase is itself a translation of the Hebrew mishneh haTorah hazoth, or in literal English "a copy of this law". It is titled this because the Hebrew peoples had already forgotten the first law. So you can see by just the title alone, that this book is about remembering/recalling the past/looking back
Deuteronomy 6 contains the “Shema” The declaration of who YHWH is and then the rest of the chapter is about teaching constantly as to not forget generation to generation, but what do we see happen? They easily forget and had already forgotten.
Then, in Chapter 32:
Deuteronomy 32:7–9 ESV
7 Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you. 8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. 9 But the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.
The Bible really does say a lot about the need to look back:
Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—
Then a few Chapters later:
Deuteronomy 9:7 ESV
Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord.
Here this is a confrontation of something specific that they did against our Lord. What’s the message? Don't even forget how you treated YHWH over the years.
look with me at 1 Kings 2
1 Kings 2:1–4 ESV
1 When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, 3 and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4 that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
David, even at the very end of his life, is still teaching his son Solomon who is about to become king, “Don’t forget everything I've ever told you: Walk in the ways of YHWH, follow the commandments of YHWH, know the testimonies of YHWH. Those are things that David taught Solomon--he said, “don't go away from those things.
I was reading in a commentator observe something went you know because we we talk about remembering and repeating and and and the need for that but he observed in the Old Testament there are over 15 chapters devoted simply to retelling the story of redemption. In other words, you read the Bible and there are far more than 15 chapters that just repeat the same things in scripture. And you know really when you look at the Bible, it isn't that long to begin with and yet the Holy Spirit has a complete retelling of the same story is just a reminder of how important it was when YHWH said, “I want you to remember and I don't want you to forget, and I want to make sure that you pass this on and on and on.” In fact, if you want to go through the OT, you going to hear it retold over over again
Deuteronomy chapters 1-4 is repetition;
Joshua chapter 24
Judges chapters 1 & 2
1 Samuel chapter 12
2 Kings chapter 17
to name a few--and that’s only the first half of the OT
All of these passages and more are just repetitions of the same thing that Christ is coming there is a redeemer which is the Holy Spirit’s way of making a strong emphasis on remembering.
Repetition is the mother of learning! We need to repeat certain things over and over and over again! Someone once said, “it is not our nature to remember God, or even God's goodness”
As we close out 2017 and as we think about another year, let’s ponder these few memory aids: first off, you need to remember that

I. YHWH Remembers

Before I go further I think is it important for you to understand that god remembers. Of course that is a surprise this god is god god is eternal god is omniscient he knows all things there. For all of eternity god is known all there's nothing outside the mind of god there is nothing that he does not know but it's important for us to keep that concept in mind and it is especially important to people who think that god has forgotten or forsaken them. There are there are dozens of people in many instances in scripture and which there are prayers of those that are afflicted in those are given to us the recorded in scripture up because it illustrates just it reminds us that there are people who love the lord and they feel forgotten forsaken and by god they they have they they forget that god made a promise and that he is a promise keeping god there is a false thought that god is not faithful to his word.
There there is a chapter I want to look at Psalm 77 because Ps 77 will take you kind of through the gamut of that kind of thinking going from feeling left out my god forsaken by god to a right response. In in this can illustrate in and be repeated over and over again but Psalm 77.
Psalm 77:1–9 ESV
1 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah 4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7 “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
v.5 “I consider the days of all the years long ago" He's looking back to more favorable times.
v.6 So again this is the power of remembering because he said now with the lord spurned for ever and never again be favorable. Has a steadfast love for ever seized. All his promises at an end for all time. Has god forgotten to be gracious. Has he in anger set up his compassion Selah you see what he's doing. He is asking and saying what we think. Got. Are you there god have you forgotten got AV for steak and god are you not true god or are you going to leave me. Don't you Love Me. Now notice verse 10
Psalm 77:10–20 ESV
10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. 15 You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
You know that might be a good chapter to think about as you remember because it ought to resonate with us. When we are going through deep, dark, desperate times. And you know that this idea of YHWH and remembering that He remembers!
Ps 105:8 says He remembers his covenant forever.
YHWH remembers. YHWH remembers even when we forget. He remembers you, He remembers your work, he remembers your labors of love. He never forgets what you've done. But let me just remind you one thing here even though YHWH remembers, YHWH also forgets. What? Yes! YHWH forgets!
Isaiah 43:25 ESV
25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Now to me it would be terrible that YHWH remembers everything and always remembers my sin; but we see this glorious forgetting repeated in Hebrews:
Hebrews 8:12 ESV
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
What this means when it says that YHWH forgets it means that He no longer holds our sins against us because we are forgiven! What that means is we are accepted by our Creator as if we had never sinned. Aren't you glad that YHWH does forget. He doesn't hold our sin against us.
Remember that YHWH remembers. Secondly. As you spend time meditating. You should:

II. Remember Jesus

We must make sure that Jesus is not neglected to a once a week focus on Sunday, or maybe twice a week and then have very little thought or meditation on him for the rest of the week.
John Newton (the one who wrote the hymn, Amazing Grace) said “my memory is nearly gone” he was 82 years old when he said that. “My memory is nearly gone but I remember 2 things.” What were those 2 things? He remember this: “I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior.” Well if you can't remember anything else that's something good to remember“I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior.” 2Tim 2:8
2 Timothy 2:8 ESV
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,
So Paul tells Timothy remember Jesus Christ so I say that to all of us here today! let's remember Jesus! Paul is encouraging Timothy here with the importance of what the focus of our life should be: it should be Jesus! someone noted that there are 3 aspects of this memory that Timothy and we are to set our hearts on first he said remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead. We know he resurrected, every day we need to work at remembering He is risen and He is with me. Paul commands Timothy to remember these three things about Jesus:
First, remember Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. (Present Tense! not has but is risen)
Second, remember the Christ born of David which reminds us of his humanity-- that he's God that He went through life, that He understands life, He truly knows, He completely comprehends everything that any of us will ever face, ever deal with in this life and that is why this celebration of Christmas and his incarnation is so critical to us.
And third, remember Paul said as preached in my gospel. Remember the good news!
One author stated: “even when the gospel demands much, even when it leads to an effort which seems to be beyond human ability, and into our future which seems dark with every kind of threat, remember that it is good news. And the world is actually waiting for this good news. So however hard the task of the gospel offers the same gospel is that message of liberation from sin and victory over circumstances for all of mankind in it is through the gospel of Jesus Christ so over the next several days remember Jesus.
Remember that YHWH remembers, remember Jesus, and third:

III. Remember where you came from

There are times when we should remember who we were, and what we were before our salvation. Or maybe even the times when we greatly fail our Lord--now I'm not saying that you bring it up to beat yourself up over past sins and epic failures. I'm not talking about that all, but what I am saying is that when you look back at where you were then that should start in all of us is a deep sense of gratitude that just swells up in our hearts when we recall what Christ is done for us in our salvation and so you do that by considering what you were like. Actually, go ahead and take a few moments and think about what it would be like for you if it wasn't for salvation through Jesus Christ. Some of us to say well I know what I was like of the terrible wretched person and I would be that and more but you know what all of us would be. All those horrible terrible evil wicked deeds that we hear about on the news we all would be likely candidates for that if it wasn't for Jesus Christ and so when you think back it should just stir your heart beat great gratitude the Jesus saves you when you're looking back over this past year take some time to review your life and as you're doing that look for the marks of intentional spiritual growth that you've been through and and that should be our goal every year, right? There should be strides and there must be effort for spiritual growth to happen. So take a few moments and honestly answer whether you are farther along in the spiritual growth process than you were 364 days ago. Am I any further along in my spiritual life or is there no change spiritually? Is there a greater faithfulness to God? Am I spending more time with YHWH and in His Word? Has my prayer life grown deeper? Have I invested in others by discipling them and in pouring my life into others moreso at the end of this year? Has there been serving, and giving and have I been loving the lost? is there something different about me than there was at the beginning of 2017? Remember where you came from and I think it'll start a spirit of gratitude in your heart and in your prayer life.

IV. Remember to forget

Now some of us don't have a problem with that! In the past, I've tried almost every kind of note taking thing there is to combat my forgetfulness--from the simple pencil and notebook to my phone, but they all fail at some point because I usually forget to use them to not forget! But there are things that you need to remember forget--Paul says that! Philippians 3:
Philippians 3:13 ESV
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
That is a great way for you to think about this topic, that you are remembering certain things and then you are to forget certain things so that you can progress. But it's easier said than done but it is imperative that you learn to forget. Paul even said you need to forget about all your worldly successes. Pride is always the enemy before us so we don’t live thinking, “this is what I have done.” That always leads us to our fall. But there are some things to forget:
you need to forget offenses against you. Forget offenses against you. What did James say? In many things we offend all. Right? in so you're gonna get offended. Your spouse might offend you, your family will offend you, a friend might offend you. So you must remember to forget offenses and the best way to do that is to remember how offensive that you are to the most Holy God! You, in your sin, are so offensive to YHWH. And because of Jesus Christ, you are so forgiven! Remember to forget. And not everyone asks us to forgive them. It would be most pleasant that the offender always came to ask for forgiveness and forgiveness always granted, but that doesn't always happen. You still must have a forgiving heart despite the lack of request, but make sure that you truly forgive them and that you never bring it up in a way that is hateful: harmful and hurtful to them. So you must forget offenses.
And also we need to forget our failures. Wait, didn’t you earlier say we need to remember certain failures? Yes, because we remember were we came from, but we do need to forget our failures--that doesn't mean we don't learn from them, but once you do learn the lesson, once you have asked for forgiveness from God and perhaps from others then go on and keep growing in your Christian life--you don't have to be bound by a past that YHWH has already forgiven!

So What?

Remember! This is critical to who you are. And who you will become. Remember that YHWH remembers. Remember Jesus, Remember where you came from, and remember to forget. There are others in scripture :Remember the needy. Remember those who labor in the word. But in conclusion: Remember God! Our God! the God that is the one and only True God! because if you don’t, the price to pay is too high:
Deuteronomy 8:18–19 ESV
18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.
Rather than perishing, look back at all the ways YHWH has shown His loving kindness to you this past year. How long will that list be for you? You'll never know unless you take time to remember all of his loving kindness to you!
Cry out with the Psalmist:
Psalm 63:5–7 ESV
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
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