If you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods to worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish.
I. GOD'S DISCIPLINE OF US IS NOT WITHOUT ITS END. No man even, whose action has any meaning in it, but has an end in what he does. It may be alleged that God's action has regard to men only in the mass; that in that view of it his action has an end; but that a special purpose is not traceable in his dealings with individuals. The truer philosophy sees purpose everywhere. The individual soul is of interest to God. He deems it worthy of being an end in itself. Though subordinately to the general good, he shapes his providence with a view to its individual well-being (Matthew 10:29-31). For -
II. GOD'S DISCIPLINE OF US IS MEANT TO TURN TO OUR ULTIMATE ADVANTAGE. "To do thee good at thy latter end." The immediate object of God's discipline is to form character; to create and develop love, trust, and obedience; to uproot evil dispositions; to break down self-will and self-dependence. The ultimate end of it is the service and blessedness of heaven. There may be some service which God is preparing us for on earth, some possession he wishes to give us, some trust he is about to repose in us. But heaven is the goal of all (2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 1:7; Revelation 3:10-13; Revelation 7:13-17).
III. THE END OF GOD'S DISCIPLINE OF US WILL NOT RE FULLY SEEN TILL THE GOAL IS REACHED. Till then our duty is to do present work, and improve by present training. - J.O.
If thou do at all forget the Lord.I. WHAT IS THAT FORGETFULNESS OF GOD OF WHICH THE PRESENT EFFECTS ON OUR MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHARACTER ARE SO HIGHLY INJURIOUS, AND OF WHICH THE FUTURE CONSEQUENCES IN REGARD TO OUR ETERNAL PROSPECTS ARE SO DREADFULLY FATAL.
1. If any persons can rise up and lie down, go out and come in, day after day, and week after week, with scarcely a transient thought of Him whose hand has sustained them, whose long-suffering has borne with them, and whose bountiful goodness has supplied their various wants, those persons are clearly chargeable with forgetfulness of the Lord their God.
2. The same guilt must also lie at our door, if we are habitually unmindful of the attributes of God; and, particularly, of His omnipresence.
3. The same may justly be said of him who allows himself to think of his Creator under a different character from that in which He has revealed Himself to mankind in His holy Word.
II. THE FEARFUL DOOM WHICH IS DENOUNCED IN THE WORDS OF THE TEXT AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE GUILTY OF THE SINS THERE FORBIDDEN. The expression, "to perish," when used in the Scriptures in a judicial sense, to describe the punishment of sin, does not mean the suffering of temporal death only — it further signifies the spiritual death of man's immortal part.
(C. Townsend, M. A.)
Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.I. MEN ARE LIABLE TO FORGET GOD.
1. We infer our liability to forget God, from the mysteriousness of His nature.
2. We infer our liability to forget God, from the moral dislike we have to Him.
3. We infer our liability to forget God, from the facts that fall under our notice.
II. FORGETFULNESS OF GOD IS AN EVIL AGAINST WHICH WE SHOULD BE PECULIARLY ON OUR GUARD. This is the intimation in the text, and the reasons on which it is founded are —
1. They who forget God must necessarily remain ignorant of Him.
2. They who forget God must necessarily disobey Him.
3. They who forget God must necessarily prove ungrateful to Him.
III. MEANS SHOULD BE USED FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF THIS HEINOUS CRIME. This is the object of the charge: "Beware that thou forget not," etc.
1. Serious consideration should be exercised on all the things that belong unto our peace.
2. Fervent and unremitting prayer should be offered up to God for a change of heart.
3. We should constantly avoid those things which tend to exclude God from our thoughts.
4. Let us use all the means which tend to turn our thoughts towards God. Let us associate with the pious — frequent religious ordinances — read God's most holy Word — contemplate death, judgment, and eternity. In conclusion —(1) Inquire, Do we forget God? This may serve as a discriminating mark of moral character. Christians love to think of God — sinners strive to forget Him.(2) Exhort those who forget God to consider their folly, their ingratitude, and their danger.
(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)
I. THE REASONABLENESS OF RENDERING A GRATEFUL SERVICE TO GOD.
1. In the case of Israel the propriety for such a grateful service is clearly seen. All men owe obedience to God; but we should expect a highly favoured people like Israel to render it in a high degree. Israel had been brought from slavery to freedom, and were promised and received as their inheritance a land most highly favoured.
2. Above all, the system of moral law and social order, and the Divine rule of the theocracy elevated them far above surrounding nations. In view of it all, there was reason that the people should yield to God a grateful service.
3. If the Israelites had reason for this, much more we. What was Britain when Imperial Rome held sway? What is it now, when Rome and many another proud dominion are but names? Do we not owe our higher light and liberty to the truth and freedom of the Gospel? As a nation we owe our God thankful gratitude and service.
4. As individual members of a great Christian people we owe gratitude to God. Contrast our condition with the savage tribes discovered by a Livingstone or Stanley; with the higher yet still idolatrous and superstitious Hindu; with a cannibal of the race so graphically described by a John G. Paten or the semi-barbarous Chinaman with his history reaching far into the past ages before our own began, but who yet has not risen above the grossest superstition and a most materialistic idea of existence. Contrast our blessings alike bestowed on cottage and palace, with the darkness that prevails among the peoples, and reason will be found for the exercise of grateful service.
II. THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE.
1. The passage warns us against the danger of receiving and enjoying the gifts at the risk of forgetting the Divine Giver; all thought and energy are not to be applied to the acquisition of more and more of the gifts of this life to use them for our own use, etc.
2. Into this sin Israel fell. They became practical materialists. Even after the return from Babylon their enthusiasm for God's work soon faded (Haggai 1). So was it in our Lord's day; and the ingratitude was then heightened by hypocrisy (Matthew 21:33-46; Matthew 23:26-39). Self and their own ease and glory were to them in reality, first; loving service toward God shown in works of love to their fellow men was far from them.
3. Is not this the spirit of too many in our time? There is a perpetual striving after the gains and pleasures of time, not that they may better serve God and become better men and women, but that they may have more of ease, more of the passing fleeting joys of this brief existence. This feature is seen in every class of the community. The socialistic schemes of the toiling millions are simply attempts to gain the kingdom of the material. But material possessions gained and received without due thankfulness to God and endeavours in His service, turn to dust and ashes in the using. Whereas if received with thankful hearts and used in His service, they may be transmuted and transformed into spiritual treasures, eternally enduring.
III. THE EFFECT OF CULTIVATING THE SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE OR ITS OPPOSITE ON MATERIAL AND INDIVIDUAL LIFE.
1. When a nation, in its government and institutions, publicly acknowledges its indebtedness to God, and makes public profession of loyalty to Him, God shall add to its blessings. Examples are not wanting.
2. So with individuals. God may not send material wealth, etc. But He will give them reasons for the joyful assurance that He is with them, and of the certainty of His promises. Hope for time, and assured hope for eternity. The effect will be closer communion and more consecrated service.
3. Far other is the effect of forgetting God whilst receiving His gifts. Remember how it was with Israel (Isaiah 1:3; Matthew 23:38, 39). Hardness of heart, material living, God-forgetfulness, idolatry — these were the steps of descent. Nothing so tends to harden the heart and quench the spiritual life than God-forgetfulness and ingratitude in using the Divine gifts. There are still too many who reap luxuriant fields without due gratitude to Him who sent sunshine and rain, etc., who attribute their success, wealth, etc., to their own skill and industry, who add possession to possession without one thought of using them beyond the narrow circle of their own lives.
4. The Divine rule is the only safe one: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," etc. (Matthew 6:33). Let the soul be right with God through forgiveness, etc., in Christ, then we shall be guided to seek and enabled to find what is best for our mortal life, and will best avail us in thankfully doing our Heavenly Master's work.
(Wm. Frank Scott.).
TopicsBow, Bowed, Destroyed, Destruction, Follow, Forewarn, Forget, Gods, Hast, Overtake, Perish, Really, Servants, Serve, Served, Solemnly, Surely, Testified, Testify, Thyself, To-day, Utterly, Walk, Warn, Worship
Outline1. An exhortation to obedience in regard to God's mercy and goodness to Israel.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesDeuteronomy 8:19
DEUTERONOMY viii. 2-5. And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the …
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons
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Subterraneous Places. Mines. Caves.
Palestine Eighteen Centuries Ago
The Temptation of Christ
Why all Things Work for Good
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners:
In Death and after Death
Meditations Before Dinner and Supper.
Third Sunday Before Lent
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