This week we are going deeper into Deuteronomy 6. We’ve spent time looking at the world behind the text of this passage, what can we learn from the original context and the other things happening within the context of the Old Testament, you can click here to read that post. Yesterday we began to look at the world of the text of Deuteronomy 6, seeing what the text actually says. You can read the first half of Chapter 6 right here. Today, we’ll finish this chapter by looking at the world of the text for the second half of chapter 6.
1. Don’t forget that the Lord did this, not you (10-12). The people were going to conquer the land, and they were going to get a lot of “infrastructure.” At this point, they are wandering through the desert, they have no home, they have no real stability, and because of this, they have few of the real things that you would need to live. Now, as they come into the Promised Land, as they conquer villages, they will have all these things. As they have stability, they will grow, they will build, they will have all the things that come with stability and life. And the Lord cautions, don’t think that you have done this. This did not happen because of your strength or your ability or your might. This happened because of God. Because of His goodness, His strength, His might. Don’t give yourself the credit for the victories that He has won. The Lord is the victor and our victory is because of Him and His strength. The people are called (here’s that same theme) to remember.
2. Don’t test the Lord (13-19). Now, we see another part of the remembering, the times they didn’t get it right. They are to remember that it was the Lord who made the victory possible, but they also need to remember what happened when they tested the Lord. There is that powerful reminder that we learn as much in our failures as we do in our successes. The people of God did not always follow. They did not always get it right. They did not always turn to the Lord. They turned away. They sought their own will, their own way. And each time they did that, there were consequences. There was pain. There was failure. The people should remember that. Our failures don’t define us. But they can teach us. The people are called to remember those failures.
3. Remember where you come from (20-25). These previous reminders combine here. When the children ask why there are altars, why there are all these things call the past to mind, we are to respond as such – we were slaves. The Lord freed us. If we keep His laws, all will be well. The people are commanded to teach their memories to their children, to remind them that they were once slaves and that they were freed by God. They should remember that pain of the past but should also remember the freedom of the past as well. They are part of our story. But here is the key, these memories are not memories for memories’ sake. They are given to spur the people to faithfulness. The people should remember where they were and remember what the Lord did. The Lord’s path is always freedom. Remember who you and remember whose you are.
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