by Rob Tims
“Tooken.” No, that’s not a misspelling of the word “token,” and neither is it a real word.
“Tooken” is commonly used in our home by our two boys who, for all their intelligence, cannot seem to recall the proper conjugation of the verb “take.” They can conjugate countless Latin verbs that I cannot, but their grasp of “taken” hasn’t … well … tooken. I’ve corrected them hundreds of times mid-sentence. I want to seer it into their noggins (along with about a thousand other things, now that I think about it).
If I think I’m frustrated, I can only imagine how Moses must have felt by the time his authorship of Deuteronomy came around. The Israelites’ persistent unbelief and whining wore Moses down to the point where he struck a rock that God told him to speak to, and the net result was that Moses would not enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20). Despite his frustration and the punishment, Moses continued to tell the Exodus story to the Israelites as if their future depended on it. For no fewer that three chapters (Deuteronomy 1-3), Moses reminded God’s people about the nature of their covenant with God, the incredible works He did on their behalf, how rebellious they had been in the process, and so on.
In Deuteronomy 4, Moses drove the history lesson home with precision and clarity. Never forget never forgetting. Deuteronomy 4:23-24 states, “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that He made with you, and make an idol for yourselves in the shape of anything He has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
The Israelites were to seer into their minds their exodus experience. They were to constantly review it so that they would never forget it. But they were not only to remember WHAT God did, but also WHY He did it: “You were shown these things so that you would know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him.”
A cursory reading of the Old Testament books that follow reveals that Moses’ teaching didn’t exactly “tooken.” No sooner did Moses’ successor Joshua die than did an entire generation of Israelites remain ignorant of the work the Lord had done for Israel (Judges 2:10). The sad tale compels us to never forget never forgetting who God is and what He has done for us.
What will you do to remind yourself of the Lord’s faithfulness in your life?
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.