Bible in a Year – Day 66: Remember What?
OK, two things. One trivial and one important. On the trivial side, you have to think that this book is just a collection of rulings that Moses made during the course of his time as leader. How else can you explain Deuteronomy 25:11-12?
If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.
Did this sort of thing happen often in ancient Israel? Is that how fights usually went? I mean, come one, surely this just happened once and Moses was asked to make some sort of judgement about it. After all, that’s how a lot of laws get written. Somebody does something that nobody ever thought to make a law against and, boom, you have to make a law against it. That’s all I have to say about that.
On a less trivial note, I find it interesting just how many times Moses uses the word “remember.” It is his strong desire that the people remember how they (technically, their parents) were slaves in Egypt. He wants them to remember the exodus. He wants them to remember the events that happened on the way to the promised land. Remembering the past seems to be a key piece of the puzzle for Moses. If we can remember how we were treated in the past, then maybe we will treat others better. If we can remember the times that God has shown his faithfulness in the past, perhaps we will be more faithful. If we can remember the punishment that was exacted on those who were disobedient, then perhaps we will be more obedient.
In fact, remembering seems to be the point of much of Moses’ writing. The books of the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible) are, first and foremost, a reminder to those in the future, including us, of what happened to those in the past. However, these books were not necessarily written to document history, but rather to lift the curtain on an experience – the experience of learning to walk with God. It seems that learning to walk requires a pretty good memory.
I read the other day about the memory of an emu. Evidently, emus have terrible short-term and long-term memory. It’s so bad, in fact, that they have to learn the same things over and over again. They are, therefore, very difficult to train – even to do the simplest of tasks. Moses seems to be speaking to a bunch of emus here. He’s saying to his fellow Israelites, “Remember this. Remember that.” I’m sure that at times he wanted to smack them in the head and say, “Wake up! Are you a bunch of idiots? How many times do you have to learn the same lesson?”
The fact is that we all tend to be a little like the emu. We are forced to learn the same lessons over and over again because, for some reason, when it comes to the truth of God, we are a forgetful lot. That is why we would be wise to heed the words of Moses and to look back at the lives of others and remember the ways in which God revealed himself – both the positive ways and the negative ways. We would do well to be a little less like the emu.
- Bible in a Year – Day 353: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing
- Bible in a Year – Day 342: Two Fruits
- Bible in a Year – Day 326: Felix the Scaredy Cat
- Bible in a Year – Day 302: Which Yeast?
- Bible in a Year – Day 274: Ctrl
- Bible in a Year – Day 251: One More Time…With Feeling
- Bible in a Year – Day 237: Failure to Fight
- Bible in a Year – Day 236: Promises, Promises
- Bible in a Year – Day 213: God’s New People
- Bible in a Year – Day 178: Hope from the Past