Be Careful To Keep His Ways
God has given you a foremost responsibility. Watch carefully that you do not forget what you have learned of God’s Holy Ways and His reasons for doing as he does.
Where do I get this? From something Moses said in his valedictory address to the people of Israel, which is the book of Deuteronomy:
NIV: Deuteronomy 4:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
The people were standing on the brink of what they had dreamed about for generations. Four hundred horrible, humiliating years of slavery, and forty years of disciplinary wilderness wandering, now were behind them. Before them lay the land God had promised Abraham to give to his offspring, long before Abraham had any offspring (Genesis 12:7). Now here they were — the offspring of Abraham numbering in the millions — about to receive the promise. Surely their hearts shuttered and beat faster and harder.
But the promise came with a condition: you must never forget the ways of the true and living God! And if in their prosperity they forgot God and placed their hope and trust elsewhere, which is “idolatry”, Moses warned them the consequences would be devastating:
“You will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you.” (Deuteronomy 4:26–27)
This warning is not merely for the ancient Israelites. It’s for us as well. We too must keep God’s Ways, the laws and the teachings of the prophets..
“Forgetting God is sin, for it is forgetting what is real, what is true, what is life.”
How to Keep God’s Ways
Remembering God and his gospel is why he gave us the local church. When we meet regularly together (Hebrews 10:25), when we teach and sing to each other (Colossians 3:16), when we share the Lord’s Supper together (1 Corinthians 11:23–26) and pray together (Ephesians 6:18) and encourage each other to seek God daily in his word (Psalm 1:2) and in private prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:5–6, 16–18), we help each other remember God.
These things are not legalistic pursuits; they are life pursuits. They are gifts of God to help us keep His Way which is the way to peace, good health, wisdom and happiness.
But “while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of [us] should seem to have failed to reach it” (Hebrews 4:1). The promise to us also comes with a condition: we too must diligently keep God’s Ways (2 Peter 1:10) or face the dire consequences of not doing so (Hebrews 6:7–8).
“Do whatever it takes to remember God.”
Your life force is a priceless gift from God. Jesus, the great Soul, the very source of your life, died to pay your sin-wages of death so you might be saved and live forever (Romans 6:23). Your life essence is the portal by which you will receive and enjoy the greatest of all gifts: God himself.
And therefore, your foremost responsibility, the one thing above all else you must carefully steward, upon which everything else in your life depends, is to keep God’s Way. Serve Him and no other!