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What to Remember and What Not to Forget—Lessons from Egypt, Part I

Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am the LORD,

and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

I will free you from being slaves to them,

and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm

and with mighty acts of judgment”

(Ex 6:6).

Their time in Egypt held many hardships for the Hebrews. But it also help provided many life lessons for them. And God’s deliverance of the people held even more.

God had much to teach these people, as He formed their nation. And much of that instruction included His commands for them to remember.

They were to remember the hard lessons learned by their oppression.

They were to remember the great lengths to which God went to save them.

They were to remember His dazzling display of power in defeating their enemy and breaking the yoke of their captivity.

All this remembering serves us well, too.

The importance? The opening books of the Bible are devoted to it. An element to the Torah is about remembering God’s participation in the lives of His creatures.

It’s astounding just how often God tells the Israelites to remember in Deuteronomy alone (in one form or another). So many in fact, the few I have selected are more that one day’s read. So I’ve divvied them up over the next couple of days—to allow time to really meditate upon them. Learn from them.

Begin by slowly considering these two:

Be careful that you do not forget the LORD,

who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery

(Dt 6:12).

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way

in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you

in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would

keep his commands

(Dt 8:2).

God impressed upon His people the importance of remembering. Two points in particular to ponder today are their past enslavement and proclivity to fear.

Past enslavement

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God

brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you

to observe the Sabbath day.

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt

and the LORD your God redeemed you.

That is why I give you this command today

(Dt 5:15; 15:15).

Hear these words in their context. Realize their application to that audience. Then consider its relevance to the Christian today.

Why is it important for us to remember this event? How does it impact my relationship with Jesus?

Were we not also once held captive? Slaves to our sinful nature? But we have been freed by Christ. And we are now kept by Holy Spirit power. However, forgetting this holds the potential of falling back into the chains of past masters. The Israelites went back into captivity several times—because they forgot their redeeming God.

Warning against fear

You may say to yourselves, 'These nations are stronger than we are.

How can we drive them out?' But do not be afraid of them;

remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.

You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear (Dt 7:17-19).

Fear is a paralyzing faith-robber. It is a thief of all things Christ came to accomplish in our lives through faith. And it masks itself in many guises. It can weaken our legs, tighten our throat, and put sweat on our brow. However, remembering God’s past deliverance keeps faith strong, courage bold, gratitude flowing, and confidence alive.

Tomorrow I’ll share a few more verses from Deuteronomy, where remembering Egypt was to be a part of the faith-life of God’s people.

God, Your deliverance is to be praised . . . remembered. As is Your instruction. Give me a soft heart to hear and heed.

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