“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.”
But thou shalt remember In the context this expression in one form or another may even seem to be hackneyed. ” Thou shalt remember all the way the Lord thy God led thee . . . ” “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God…” “Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God…”
And then you have the text: “But thou shalt remember the Lord they God…”
It is not only possible, but sad proneness of the human heart to forget , to lose sight of the gracious Giver, and to rest in His gifts! Alas! We cannot deny it! We often rest in the stream, without getting up to the Fountain! We turn the very mercies and benefits which lade our path in rich profusion into an occasion of self-complacency and gratulation instead of finding in them the blessed ground for continual praise and thanksgiving!
But thou shalt remember Jehovah thy God!
For it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth!
That He may establish His covenant! The covenant which He sware unto thy fathers!
Remembering the Source of our wealth!
Truly a theme to contemplate in this thanksgiving season!
Remembering! The Source of the power to acquire wealth!
Jehovah, thy God!
How contrary this is to the imagination of the natural and depraved mind of man! Of man who plans, who lies awake nights laying out the stratagems which he will use in the morning to bring about his financial returns, to amass his fortunes! Of man who plunges deeply into the stock market, and who watches greedily the ticker tape to determine the precise moment to sell for quick gain! Of man who, when he becomes religious, may be willing on the day set aside for the nation to enter the houses of worship and to gather there with others to rejoice in the abundance of wealth he with bony fingers piled up before him, and who gleefully exclaims: “Behold what I have amassed by shrewd thinking and careful planning, while others slept, carelessly neglecting their opportunities! What I have acquired with hard work and patient endeavor, while others relaxed and wasted their time and energies!” Of man, who rejoices in the abundance of things, but without God!
Moses knew of the fickleness of the human heart when he declared in the verse preceding our own: “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.” This the children of Israel, according to the flesh, would say when they prospered and became fat in the land.
But God says: I am the One Who gave thee power to acquire wealth! I am He Who giveth thee power to become powerful, the ability to produce riches!
Jehovah thy God!
The I AM THAT I AM! The eternal One! Who did not become, but always was what He is! The Unchangeable, Covenant God!
Jehovah! The Name by which He particularly reveals Himself to His people. On the basis of which He establishes an everlasting covenant with them, a covenant that cannot be broken!
God! The Almighty One! Whose is all power in heaven and on earth! Apart from Whom there is no power, or it must find its source in Him, and in Him alone!
God! The Majestic One! Who shines forth over all the idol gods of the heathen! Whose very Name implies His Self-sufficiency! the great, the glorious God!
He is our God!
The text noticeably is directed to God’s covenant people! A people redeemed from Egypt, the house of bondage! A people whom He had formed for Himself, and to whom He was revealed as their God! He is not the God of all men! But He makes Himself to become the possession of a people whom He has chosen before the world began, whom He redeems through the blood of His Only Begotten Son, whom He calls out of darkness into His marvelous light, whom He separates from the world, and to whom He reveals Himself as the God of their salvation. A people to whom not only it can be said: He is Jehovah thy God; but who themselves declare: He is Jehovah our God!
He is the source of their power!
Of the power to acquire wealth!
O, to be sure, whatever our estate may be, it is of Him!
Also of weakness and poverty! For He makes not only the rich, but also the poor. He makes not only the strong, but also the weak. He forms the light, and creates the darkness. He makes peace, and creates evil. He, the Lord, does all things! Make no mistake about it!
But the text emphasizes the fact of prosperity, of wealth!
And in this thanksgiving season, when we are surrounded with wealth, and we bathe in luxuries, it is well that we see it all in its proper perspective. Let us acknowledge that it was not acquired by our own power or initiative. Let us say it together: God is the sole Source, both of our strength, and the wealth produced by it. Jehovah, our God, He is the Giver of all we possess!
And He gives not without a definite purpose in mind!
That He may establish His covenant! The covenant which He swear unto thy fathers! Not that we may consume it upon our lust, has He given.
Not that we might conclude that this world is a pretty good place in which to live, and the luxuries of our wealth an aromatic suds in which to relax to the enjoyment of our flesh, has He given. Not for our purpose did Jehovah our God give power to acquire wealth!
But His covenant!
For His covenant’s sake, He gave it! That friendship relation between Himself and His people, which is based upon and arising out of the very Essence of God, out of the Trinity of life, love, and friendship which constitute the very nature of His Being! Into which covenant He has incorporated Christ, the Firstborn of all creatures, and in Christ a people chosen by Him!
His covenant! Not a relation we conceived of, or desired to realize; but of His conception, and realized solely by Him!
The covenant He establishes! He causes it to be. He sets it up. He confirms it. This He did eternally in His counsel of peace: a covenant between the Triune God and Christ, the Mediator of His covenant. He establishes it also in history, in time. This He does in the line of succeeding generations of the believers and their seed. Centrally He realizes it in The Seed, which is Christ, and through Him and His redemptive work, with all the elect of all ages!
The covenant which He swear unto the fathers! To Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! And from them to all the fathers in Israel! To these fathers of His covenant promises He swear to fulfill them! All covenants must be ratified and sealed to give assurance of fulfillment. And God swears with an oath for confirmation to these fathers. He swears by Himself, for there is none greater by whom He can swear, that surely blessing He will bless them. (Hebrews 6:13-14).
But in what way is the giving of wealth and the establishment of the covenant related? Is the divine purpose in giving us wealth that we may remember Jehovah? Or, is the giving of wealth that it may be the means to establish His covenant? And if the latter be the purpose, what are we to understand by that wealth? How can it possibly fit into the realization of God’s covenant?
The wealth, and the power to produce it, must undoubtedly be understood in the literal, material sense of the word. It refers to material abundance. However, we hasten to add, that material abundance for Israel was always typical, a symbol of spiritual prosperity. In the old dispensation and among the people of God material wealth was typical, as the very land of Israel which flowed with milk and honey was typical of heaven.
This can no longer be said today. Material abundance is no longer a sign of special favor from heaven. It may very well be that one who has the abundance of this world’s goods is the object of God’s curse, while the child of God who is poor is the object of His favor. Material wealth for the child of God today can only make it more difficult for him to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said: It is easier for the camel to go through the eye of the needle than for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Unless the rich of the children of God use their riches as servants to attain unto that kingdom, as means to glorify and to serve God, they can only serve as so many testimonies against them.
But in the text, in the deep sense of the word, wealth spoke to the true Israelite of the grace of God which was upon him. In the deep sense it referred to all the grace of Christ, through which God would realize His eternal covenant of friendship with His people. And among these graces would be the praise and adoration wherewith that redeemed and covenant people would remember Jehovah their God. Such is undoubtedly the meaning of the text!
God, therefore, in the giving of His gifts realizes His covenant with us. And we, in turn, respond with the praise and adoration of His Holy Name!
But thou shalt remember Jehovah thy God! To remember is to recollect, to bring to mind!
To remember our covenant God is to recall His Name, Jehovah; to recognize Him as our God! And in relation to our gifts, it is to remember that He has given them to us; it is to bring to mind that He has given with a purpose, that He may establish and realize His covenant, the covenant which He made with our fathers and which He is still keeping with their believing seed!
Thou, Israel, church of the living God, which has been redeemed from the bondage of sin and death, of which bondage the enslavement in Egypt was only a type; thou shalt remember! Remember Jehovah, thy God!
Not the world!
How could the world remember what it does not know, what was never made known unto it? Never has Jehovah our God ever signified to that world that He loves them, or that He wishes to establish with them His covenant. All that the world ever hears of God is that He is God and He must be served; and that all who turn their necks from Him shall experience His wrath and hot displeasure. But the world cannot know, and therefore cannot remember that He is Jehovah their God!
Only the redeemed!
Those who have tasted Jehovah’s sovereign grace, the grace of redemption in Christ Jesus, Who was greater, much greater than Moses, who led out from that typical bondage! Who belong to that people which Jehovah, our God, is forming by His Word and Spirit, and gathering out of all nations! Who have been formed for His praise!
They shall remember!
And remembering, they shall praise Him!
For all His benefits!