“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. – Deuteronomy 6:10-15 (ESV)
Eugene Merrill writes:
But it was this very goodness of God that would lead to Israel’s sense of self-sufficiency, a feeling that all that had been done was by human hand. The inevitable result would be to forget him, the very one who not only would achieve such an unparalleled conquest but who had effected Israel’s redemption from bondage in the first place (v. 12). The only remedy for such a memory lapse was a renewed commitment to the covenant that lay at te heart of the LORD’s relationship to the nation Israel. Moses thus enjoined upon his people that they fear, serve, and swear by the LORD only (v. 13), commands that are permeated with covenant language. Lingering doubt about the covenant focus is dispelled in vv. 14-15, which recall unmistakably the first two commandments of the Decalogue. The “do not follow other gods” of v. 14 is clearly a rephrasing of the first commandment – “You shall have no other gods before Me” – and the reference to the “jealous God” who judges and punishes covenant violation (v. 15) harks b ack to the second commandment that describes the LORD as such and speaks of His punishment of sin. To sin in such a way as to forget the source of Israel’s blessing was to invite the ultimate covenant curse, removal from the land.
[Pastor Booth adds:] We ought not to restrict our thoughts about this reality to Ancient Israel. One of the most basic ways by which we build up our faith and stay on track is by regularly giving thanks. We do this when we gather for public worship, but please make sure that you are giving thanks for the LORD’s abundant blessings on a regular basis in your personal life and in your family devotions.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 91
Q. 91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.