Lest You Forget

For today’s Lenten devotion we will focus on Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9.  It is good for us to begin by reading the text slowly and prayerfully and seek the Holy Spirit to guide us.   

“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you.

5 See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

9 “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.

Whenever words such as “statues” or “rules” appear on the Old Testament pages, an awkward feeling of legalism may involuntarily crop up in the hearts of some Christians. The question, as valid as it may be, is how relevant such terms are to our spiritual life since we are saved by faith and not by law.  Indeed “we have been justified by faith” (Rom5:1).  However, “justified by faith” does not deem “the statues and the rules” irrelevant as they are the expression of our faith; namely, the standard as how we should live out the Christian life in relation to God and to one another.  “the statutes and the rules” mentioned here in Deut 4:1 represent the whole law (Deut 1:5) of God given to Israel by Moses.  And, it is reiterated by Jesus when he summarizes the whole law as “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke10:27).  Thus, we may say that “the statutes and the rules” are ways helping us to show the love of Christ as we “take possession of the land”.  Such is the fundamental of our faith and we need to ask ourselves have we unknowingly forgotten it, especially in the midst of busyness and turning our faith into something purely intellectual without caring act? The scriptural text for devotion today begins with a challenge, “And now”.  Indeed, we need to return to the fundamental now lest we forget the teaching of Moses (Deut 4:5-9) and, more importantly, the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, particularly in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  To end, let us pray that our Lord will make us an instrument of His love and the doer of His Word, so that the world may know that Jesus Christ is indeed the Lord of all.

The Most Rev Dr Titus Chung
Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia

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