On the edge of greatness: Week 1
The Lord provided for the Israelites in the desert, where there was no natural provision for them. But He also provided for them in the land of milk and honey. Everything was from God. Moses warned them not to forget. Just because you are in a good place and you seem to be able to provide well for yourself, don’t forget that it is God who has given you, not only the things you have but also the very ability to provide for yourself. Never take the blessings of God for granted. Don’t treat Him only as your last resort. If you want to maintain the blessings of God in your life, you would be wise to always remember to thank the Lord for all that you have and thank Him and trust Him also for all you need – now and in the future.
Something To Talk About:
- Beware of forgetting about God when life is good: Clinging to God in the hard times comes naturally to most of us. We realize we need Him, that we cannot navigate our trials alone. But what about the good times? Times when all our needs are met and many of our “wants” too. Unfortunately, we tend to forget about God when the bank account is full, our kids are healthy, and our future looks bright. In those times, we often loosen our grip on God. We feel like we’ve got things under control. We can handle life. We become independent from God and dependent on ourselves and our stuff. God warned the Israelites about this very thing. During those forty wilderness years, He met their needs day by day and they learned to depend on Him. But as they stood at the edge of the Promised Land, ready to enter, God counseled them on the dangers of prosperity. He was about to lead them into a land abundant with water, food, and natural resources. God knew that initially they would bless and thank Him for His provision. But over time, as they got used to “having”, their attitude would change.“For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 8:12-14)
- The result of forgetting about God is arrogant self-sufficiency: After things have gone our way for a while, an attitude of self sufficiency sets in. “I did it by myself,” creeps into our psyche. We forget what God has done and consider our success a personal accomplishment. All that God did is forgotten while we put our thumbs in our lapels, grin and take the credit. When those moments arrive we forget how God has blessed us in the past. Those moments should remind us to be humble, to always be thankful for everything that God gives and also to rely more on God instead of relying on ourselves. We might cover ourselves up in our minds and give ourselves credit for any success, but God knows the truth. Isaiah 2:11 says, “Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment.”
- The recovery from forgetting God is a deliberate recollection: Want to stop forgetting God? It takes effort. If a person gets out a photo album or the high school yearbook, memories of the people and places will flood our minds. The same thing will happen if we take time to reflect and recollect what God has done for us. Jot down all the things God has done for you and all the things He has kept from happening to you. Then, look at it periodically and add to it as necessary. You will be amazed at how blessed you are. You will remember to remember God. In Philippians 4 Paul said that we are to pray with thanksgiving and then make our requests known to God. If you will start each day thinking of something God has done for you, and thanking Him for it, it will remind you of the times He stepped into your situation and held you in His arms on the day of trouble. “Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.” (Deutoronomy 8:18)
- Have you ever had spiritual amnesia? How does forgetting God and what He’s done weaken our spiritual growth?
- How do the consequences of forgetfulness have ripple effects that go beyond ourselves?
- What happens in life that could cause you to forget God?
- Is your tendency to forget God most prevalent when times are good? Why do you think that is?
- The question is not “can you remember God’s goodness?” It is “will you remember God’s goodness?” Agree or disagree and why?
- What things do you tend to forget about God? Where in your life do you need to “lift up your head” to recalibrate your trajectory?
- How do you remember what God has done for you? What is one of your favorite memories? Why? How does this memory illustrate the power of remembering God for you?
- Read and discuss Deuteronomy 4:9, 8:11-20, Judges 2:10-12 and 2 Peter 1:3-15. What do these verses tell you about you? What do they tell us about God? What do they indicate about remembering and forgetting?
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful or difficult to understand from this sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
It is so easy to forget. One doesn’t have to do a thing, it just happens to everyone. To forget the blessings of God can be caused by many things, but almost always in the end it is the result of feeling that we don’t need Him. It may not be blatant or even intentional. Not only should we be thankful for what God has done for us, but we should be thankful for the things that have not happened to us.
Take some time and remember how good God has been to you. The old hymn commanded us to “Count Your Many Blessings…name them one by one..?” Remember to remember what God is doing, has done, and will do for you!