For the week of June 10, 2000 / 7 Sivan 5760
Torah: Devarim / Deuteronomy 14:22 - 16:17
Haftarah: Bemidbar / Numbers 3:1-19

The Effect of Remembering

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees (Deuteronomy 16:12).

I was recently struck by the reality that we were actually at one time slaves in Egypt. My ancestors were brutally oppressed by a foreign nation. The same nation that earlier had graciously opened its doors to us, had become our cruel enemies.

It is hard to imagine what life must have been like for them. I live in a free country, where, for the most part, I can do as I please. But that has not always been the case.

The history of our people has seen us in very difficult circumstances. And yet once hard times pass, it is so easy to lose touch - to take our freedom for granted.

But we were really slaves. And we were really set free. God has delivered our people time and time again. That is the basis of our relationship to him. When we could not help ourselves, God came and set us free. In response to all he has done, we should follow his decrees.

When we neglect God's directions, it is a sign that we have forgotten what he has done for us. We forget that without him, we would continue to be slaves. Maybe not slaves to a foreign power, but slaves nonetheless.

Maybe you are a slave now, oppressed by your circumstances or other people. Maybe you are in bondage to yourself, trapped by your own frailties or addictions. God has come to set you free.

But once we are free, we need to remember where we came from. When we loose touch with the fact that God set us free, we take him for granted and become ungrateful. Before we know it we find ourselves in bondage all over again.

But if we take the time to remember that God has delivered us from bondage, we will realize our continual need for him, and our desire to follow his decrees will increase.

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