Introduction: Are you getting old? I am. When you get old you worry about not remembering because forgetting might be a sign of a serious problem. For me, I take comfort in the fact that remembering has always been an issue.  When I was a teenager, I recall driving from my home towards the university and I could not recall my destination or why I was making the trip. These days that never happens to me, but remembering has become a political issue in my country. Some young people want to destroy monuments that bring to mind things of the past. Their opponents believe that recalling the past helps us to avoid making the mistakes of the past. What does God tell us about the importance of remembering certain things?  Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and see what it says!

  1.         Remembering The Flood

  1.         Read Genesis 9:8-11. God gives humans a guarantee that He will never again destroy the earth with water. What is the context for this promise? (Humans have just survived a world-wide flood.)

  1.         God says that He is making a promise to the birds, the cows, and other animals. Why would He make a promise to those who cannot comprehend a spoken message like this? (God destroyed all of the humans and animals that were not in the ark. He is publicly making the promise that He will not do that again. I think the point is not to communicate with the animals, but rather to place value on animals.)

  1.         Read Genesis 9:12-16. What sign of God’s promise did He give us? (“My bow in the cloud.”

  1.         Does God need a sign? (These verses tell us this sign is to help God remember His promise.  It says nothing about helping us to remember. It is hard to believe that God has a problem with His memory.)

  1.         So what is God’s real point behind the rainbow?

  1.         These days the rainbow has been co-opted by homosexual rights activists. Why, of all the signs they could pick, did they choose this one? (It does not make any sense from a human point of view. If you wanted a symbol of diversity, you would pick something with more and different colors. Instead, I think this reflects the statement made in Ephesians 6:12 (read it) that Christians should realize that their real opponents are not other, fallen humans, but rather evil cosmic powers.  In that context, this makes sense.)

  1.         Remembering Our Need

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 8:7-9. What kind of place is God giving His people? (A great place!)

  1.         What tells you that this was an advanced civilization? (They used iron and copper.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 8:10-14. What is God’s fear? (That His people will forget what He has done for them.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 8:15-17. Is God worried that they will become old and forgetful? If not, what is the source of the concern? (That they will claim responsibility for their wealth.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 8:18. Why is God the one to whom they should give thanks? (Because He gave them “power to get wealth.”)

  1.         What does that mean? (Humans owe everything to God – including their continuing ability to live.)

  1.         Is this a problem today? Do humans tend to claim that they are responsible for their successes in life? (I think this is a serious problem today among those who are successful.)

  1.         Let’s look at the logic of our discussion so far and see if we can find a common theme. Is there a connection between God’s people forgetting that God is the source of their success, and homosexual activists co-opting the sign of God’s no flood promise?  (The link between the two is Genesis. Genesis tells us that God created humans. Genesis reports the Flood. If you reject Genesis and believe that humans evolved from simple celled organisms, then you reject human history. Without that history, why not believe that you can imagine your gender? Why not imagine your species?)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 8:19-20. What solemn warning does God give us about failing to remember our history? (That we “shall surely perish.”)

  1.         Remembering Our Past

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 24:18. What part of their history does God ask His people to remember? (That they were slaves in Egypt and that God freed them from slavery.)

  1.         Do you have a similar history? Did God save you from slavery? (We all have different stories of how God helped us, but the common fact is that God saved us from eternal death.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 24:19-21. Who is being helped? (The sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.)

  1.         Are they the only ones helped by this practice? (No. Verse 19 promises the farmer that God may “bless you in all the work of your hands.”)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 24:22. What is the logical connection between this requirement and the history of the farmer’s family as slaves? (God helped them when they could not help themselves. God says because of this you should help those who have limited ability to help themselves.)

  1.         Look back again at Deuteronomy 24:19-21. There are several other historical lessons that we should not overlook or forget. We have two classes, the property owner and those who do not own property. What does this teach us about God’s view of the rights of the property owner? (God reaffirms the right of the property owner to continue to own the property and to farm it. God does not call on the farmer to divide this property with those who do not own property.)

  1.         What is required of those who have limited ability to help themselves? (They have to do the work of collecting the sheaf, the olives, and the grapes. God does not allow them to sit at home and wait to have food brought to them.)

  1.         If the farmer, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow do exactly as God has directed, what will be the end result regarding their relative wealth? (It is only the farmer that God promises to bless in this situation.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 15:11. Does God believe that the problem of the poor can be solved? (He says that we will always have poor.  But, those who have property should help them. Let’s next explore the context for this verse.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 15:1-3. There are many things that happen in the Sabbatical year, but we will concentrate here on the issue of debt. What does it mean that the creditor “shall release what he has lent to his neighbor?” (It means that the creditor no longer has the legal authority to collect any part of the debt that remains unpaid.)

  1.         Does this rule apply to foreigners? (No.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 15:4. What is the goal? (Having no poor among God’s people. The poverty problem in general will remain, but the goal for God’s people is to eliminate poverty.)

  1.         Add Deuteronomy 15:5. If you read the last two verses together, what is God’s program for eliminating poverty? (If the people obey God’s rules, including the rules to benefit the poor, then the problem of the poor should disappear.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 15:6-8. Does God expect that there will be a permanent class of poor people among those who serve Him? (The goal is that all of God’s people will have sufficient wealth. Verse 7 refers to someone becoming poor. The idea is that adverse circumstances might cause you to be poor. In that case, those with wealth need to help.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 15:9-10. What kind of attitude should the rich have towards the poor? (It is sin to give the poor nothing because the year of release is approaching. Instead, God blesses those who have a generous attitude towards the poor.)

  1.         Friend, God asks us to remember our past and what He has done and continues to do for us. If we do this, we will acknowledge that all of our wealth comes from God. Our opportunity for eternal life comes from God. That should give us an attitude of compassion towards the poor. But that attitude of compassion does not result in us having less, it results in God’s further blessings. Will you decide today to remember and obey?

  1.         Next week: Deuteronomy in the Later Writings.