…be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Israel spent over 400 years in oppression, forced to labor under Egyptian rule, but eventually freed when God used Moses. As they were on their way to the Promised Land, the Israelites soon forgot all the miracles that God had performed to get them out of Egypt. Taking their eyes off God, they focused on their own circumstances and started to complain: “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3)
I’ve been reading in the book of Jeremiah which takes place about 500 years after the Israelite exodus from Egypt. Jeremiah was a prophet who began his ministry during the reign of king Josiah. Jeremiah witnessed Josiah’s reform in the removal of all the ungodly articles from the temples (2 Chronicles 23:4-7), the demolition of all the altars and shrines the Israelites had built to other gods (2 Kings 23:8-16), and the restoration 0f the Passover celebration (2 Chronicles 35:1-19). God used Jeremiah to remind Israel of His covenant with them, but they again forgot God and returned to the sins of their forefathers setting up idols and altars to their other gods. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God warned them:
Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.
Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble on the darkening hills.
You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom.
If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.
About 40 years after King Josiah’s changes, Jeremiah then saw the destruction of Judah, Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon, and was forcibly carried off to Babylon with the rest of the Israelites.
Have you forgotten and taken your eyes off God? I am so ashamed that I have done this as I’ve gotten caught up in the problems of this life. Studying these Scriptures from the Old Testament has been so good for me, reminding me to always keep my focus on Him, and also showing me how far the LORD has brought me. He has changed my heart and my thinking, but I’m still a sinner and need so much more work! Oh, how I needed this reminder that the LORD has brought me out of the slavery of my past sins, and how He continues to deliver me from the bondage of present sins!!
Heavenly Father, I praise You as my Deliverer. You have delivered me from my sinful past, and I thank You so much! Thank You, Jesus, for dying for my sins! Thank You for loving me that much!! Please continue to remind me of how far You have brought me so that I can serve You better. Holy Spirit, please help me to remain focused and not concentrate on the circumstances of this world. I ask these things in Jesus’ name, so that You will be glorified. Amen.