Deuteronomy 8:11-18 – Take heed lest you forget the Lord your God … lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God … Beware lest you say in your heart, "My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth."
How good is your memory ? Mine is not as good as it might be. People used to say that if you wanted to remember something you should tie a knot in your handkerchief (it wouldn't work so well today with paper tissues). My problem was that I would tie a knot in my hankie, but when I pulled it out of my pocket the next day I could never remember what the knot was there for.
There may be some things we can afford to forget, but there are others we forget at our peril. "You shall remember the Lord your God," Moses told the Israelites (Deuteronomy 8:18), and the Psalmist says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." Unfortunately that's often exactly what we do. We forget our total dependence on God. We forget that everything we have, including life itself, comes to us in the first place as a gift from God.
The passage quoted above from Deuteronomy 8:11-18 has an incredibly modern ring about it, doesn't it? After living a simple life in the wilderness for forty years, the Israelites were about to enter a land of potential wealth and prosperity. Moses could see exactly what was going to happen. His words could have been spoken directly to us, for over recent generations we have built goodly houses, we have accumulated more and more material possessions and luxuries, and all that we have is multiplied. Our temptation is to say that we are the ones who have produced this wealth and all these technological marvels. More than ever we need to hear Moses' warning, "Take heed lest you forget the Lord your God …for it is he who gives you power to get wealth."
Prayer: Forgive us, O God, that so often and so easily we forget all the benefits and all the blessings you have conferred upon us. We so readily take for granted all the good things we enjoy, and assume that our power and the might of our own hands have accumulated this wealth. Help us never to forget what we owe to you, our Creator, the one who provides for all our needs. Amen.