Deuteronomy 8:18-20 – “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish His covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish: because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.”
The message that the Lord wants me to share with you is “Don’t forget where you come from.” Go ahead and look at your neighbor and tell them “Neighbor!” “Don’t forget!” “Where you come from!” When we hear that phrase of “don’t forget where you come from”, we are quick to think about our individual backgrounds as in where we grew up at along with the experiences that we have gained. Verse 18 of the 8th chapter of Deuteronomy told us to remember the Lord our God. The word “remember” is a derivative of a Greek word called “mnay-mon-yoo-o” which means to “be mindful of”. That same verse informs us that we need to always remember that it is God who provides us with the wealth that we have in our lives. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “wealth” means an abundance of money, property and possessions. A lot of us in this sanctuary have bills and are going through or have been through financial difficulties. What matters most is that we are wealthy because God allowed His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice His life for our sins. That allows us to be joint heirs of God as mentioned in Galatians 4:7 which reads, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” Looks like the Lord has plenty of sons and daughters who are heirs.
Deuteronomy 8:19-20 warns about destruction from walking after other gods along with serving and worshipping them. Webster’s Dictionary defines “serving” as giving assistance or help while “worshipping” is defined as adoring reverence, regard or deep respect. At face value, a lot of us would say that we are not paying reverence to a statue or some object. Nevertheless, we are notorious about making personal desires become our idols or gods. Exodus 20:5 says, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” There is nothing wrong with having personal desires as long as God has the most attention. It is sad and shameful that we do “worship” or over-indulge in hobbies that we enjoy along with violating our bodies with alcohol, tobacco, drugs, fornication, adultery and countless other sins. It said in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” The price that was paid involved Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. As mentioned in the Four Gospels in the New Testament, Jesus rose from the grave within a 3-day period. That means that He is alive and well today! In the second chapter of Romans, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to work on His behalf until His return in human form. That goes to show how much God loves us so dearly. It is disgusting to know that we constantly slap God in His face daily by turning our backs on Him. In the Bible, that is known as “blasphemy” or using disrespectful words and/or actions against God! Numerous ministers have talked about the Israelites in the Old Testament for many years because they are not only similar to African Americans, but also similar to the entire world as a whole. Where I am getting at is that we as a people are “wishy-washy”. We go though trials and tribulations, we ask for forgiveness of sins, we cry out to God begging Him and pleading Him to help deliver us from our rough situations. God blesses us with what we need, allows us to overcome the struggle, we praise and worship Him and then over time, we forget about Him. When we forget about Him, that is when the devil really applies pressure on us! Then we are back to square one asking God for forgiveness. We sin by thought, word, deed and omission or in other words, not doing something that we are supposed to do.
Don’t get me wrong; it is a blessing to know that God is willing to forgive us as long as we have a sincere heart. He is even willing to forgive us no matter how bad our sins are. Last Sunday, we talked about David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, betrayed the men that he led and had Bathsheba’s husband murdered. After Nathan, one of God’s prophets, confronted David about his sins, David realized what he has done. He forgot about God and caused a lot of damage. David did the right thing by confessing that he has sinned against God. The Lord spared him but ended up taking away the life of the child that was born through adultery. This all took place in the 11th and 12th chapters of II Samuel. After all of that, David remained as one who is after God’s own heart. It is good to know that our Lord is a forgiving God while at the same time; we have to face the consequences of our actions – young and old. Daniel 11:35 says, “Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”
It is important to remember God in our daily lives because we are nothing without Him. Through Jesus Christ’s example, African Americans have come a very long way but still has a long way to go. The Arkansas Crime Information Center had a statewide statistic of 68 arrests involving murder in the year 2007. Out of those 68 arrests, 46 of them were black people! Out of the 46 blacks that were arrested for murder in Arkansas, 42 were adults and 4 of them were juveniles. A lot of us have forgotten about God. Society is bad about teaching hate in this day and time. The mentality of a lot of people is: “I am better than you. If you try to do better than I am, then I will do all that I can to tear you down.” King Solomon repeatedly stated that “Everything is vanity” in the book of Ecclesiastes. Pastor Steve Lake once mentioned that family is now an endangered species because we forgot how to share God’s love among each other. Maintaining a personal relationship with God is like a child having a relationship with their parent or guardian. I am not a parent myself although I have looked at my relationship with my parents along with other families. From my observation, the parents who are doing their job as a mother or father really enjoy spending time with their children because the children want to be around their parents. God is the same way. He wants us to have a close relationship with Him on a daily basis as opposed to approaching Him only when we want money or to be bailed out of a tough situation. We cannot limit God as a bail bondsman! God is much more than that! He is known as Jehovah Jirah, which means that He is our provider. He is the one that created us. He is the one who gave us our health and our strength. He is the one who gave us a sound mind. He is the one who provided us with too many blessings to count. He is the one who gave us Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior to allow our sins to be forgiven.
In closing, we need to remember the Lord our God as mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:18-20 and apply His teachings to our daily lives. For those who have not accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, today is a good time to do so. At some time in your life, you have been “spiritually scarred” by people who forgot about the Lord’s teachings. It could be an individual or a group of people from a church that is misguided. It could possibly be a family member or a so-called friend that gave you a rough experience where you feel that the church is a political, money-hungry, fashion show along with having a negative outlook on God. The book of St. John 16:2-3 said, “They will put you out of the synagogue (or place of worship); in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” When that Scripture mention, “kill”, it goes beyond violence. Speaking negative things about someone is another way of killing someone as mentioned in Proverbs 18:21 because the power of the tongue can bless or curse someone. Psalm 33:4 said, “For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.” In other words, you have to seek God for yourself. None of us Christians are perfect except for Jesus. All of us had committed sin. What I could guarantee you is that a life with Jesus is not easy but the most rewarding. Don’t be afraid to pick up a Bible and fellowship with Christians who are trying to better themselves daily. If the King James Version of the Bible is difficult to follow, you have other translations that make it easier to understand.
As I take my seat, I pray that this sermon was able to reach out to all of you including those who are struggling with their faith. Thank you very much for allowing me to come before you and may the Lord continue to bless and keep us all in the name of Jesus!