Remember the Wonders of the Lord!
Torah Portion: Ekev (Because) D’Varim (Deut.) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Today I want us to look at Deut. 11:7. This verse reads, “Because your eyes are the ones seeing all the great works of the L-rd that He has done.” In the first nine verses of chapter 11 Moshe was speaking directly to the current generation of the children of Israel. They were the ones about to cross over the Jordan to enter the land of Israel. Earlier he had stressed to the people how important it was that they follow G-d’s word, His commandments as they crossed the Jordan.
In our portion tonight we read in Deut. 11:2-6 where he reminded the people that their children had not seen or experienced some of the miracles their parents had seen. It was vital that the parents keep G-d’s commandments and to raise their children to walk after the L-rd. It was important for the parents own spiritual strength to remember what G-d had done for them in their struggle to come to this place. He had given them victories over their enemies more powerful than they. This point is so vital for us all. Memory, remembering what G-d has done for us is important. Moses recounted miracle after miracle for the people. This is so important for us all. I want us to look at this in some depth tonight, memory and remembering what G-d has done for us.
Let’s look at Deut. 8:11-18 to see how important it is to never forget who is, was and will be the source of our blessings. What can we fall into when we do not remember the works of G-d in our life? It is easy to become proud of our accomplishments. In these verses it says we might be tempted to say to ourselves, “My power and the strength of my own hand have brought me this great wealth. But remember the L-rd your G-d for it is He who gives you the power to do great things, upholding the covenant that He swore to your ancestors.”
So, here Moshe was warning the people and us what would be if they forgot how they came to the land promised to their ancestors years before. How it would be if they forgot G-d was the One who brought them from slavery in Egypt to standing on the shores of the promised land. Moshe warned them to never forget that they were slaves but now they were standing on the brink of entering their own land.
Memory and remembering is the theme of Deuteronomy. It has much to say to us today. As we live from day to day we will experience tests. It is through these tests we actually have the opportunity to grow in our faith. I expect each of us can give examples of difficult times we have experienced. They were times that tested us. How we deal with such tests is our challenge. By these times we grow and our faith is built up and strengthened. These are the moments we can stop and recount how G-d has walked through life with us, never leaving us. That is what Moshe was telling Israel in this Torah portion. In Deut. 10:12-13 it is listed what G-d was asking of the people and what would see them through the years ahead.
I would like us to take a moment to look at these and see what we can learn for our own lives. Fear G-d. What does that mean to fear G-d? In Hebrew the word carries the meaning of revere Him, to acknowledge His holiness, to respect Him as our L-rd and not look to our own power. The fear of G-d is that knowledge that we have no hope outside of Him. Our righteousness, when compared to G-d is as filthy rags. In Proverbs 1:7 we read, “The fear of G-d is the beginning of knowledge. Our lives are in His hands.
Next, as G-d’s people we are expected to walk in His word, His commandments, not leaning on our own understanding. In I Cor. 11:1 we read where Shaul said he was an imitator of the Messiah. Our lives must reflect Yeshua everyday in what we do, how we live, and how we relate to people.
In John 8:28-29 Yeshua said He is a reflection of the Father. I believe this should be our example of how to live our life. We are to reflect Yeshua to the world around us. Our lives are to be lived each day being the hands and feet of the Father so the world will know who we are. All of this can be accomplished when we remember what He has done for us and who we are in Him. As Moshe called the people to remember so G-d calls us. Remember who you are. Remember the price that was paid for you. Don’t waste a day thinking you in your own strength did all the things that actually G-d has accomplished in your life. It was and will be the blessing of G-d and His love for you. Remember.
Finally, another theme of this portion is gratitude. We have been talking about remembering. Recounting what G-d had done for the children of Israel would not only build their faith but also help them to be thankful for what G-d had done for them. Moshe puts gratitude at the heart of what he wants to make clear to Israel and to us as well. If we look back, gratitude was not one of their strong points during their forty years in the desert. They complained about lack of food, lack of water, no meat, no vegetables and more. They lacked thankfulness when things were difficult and reverted to complaining. Moshe reminded them of all G-d had done for them.
To help us I would like us to look at an ancient Hebrew prayer. It contains only two words, Modi Ani. In English it translates, “I thank you.” This prayer is said every morning when a person wakes up. It stresses the importance of being thankful for all G-d has done for us. It starts the day reminding us of what G-d has done. It gives us the correct perspective to start our day. These short words can remind us just how much G-d loves us and what He has done for us. Gratitude should always be a part of our life.
Bless each of you this week as you walk in His strength not your own, thanking Him for all His blessings.