Many in our church are reading through the Bible in a year using the same schedule. I am doing that for the first time this year and I'm enjoying it. I thought I wouldn't enjoy it because it was too much of the Bible to try to digest, but I have found that reading at this pace allows me to see more of the sweeping themes of Scripture.
One of the phrases that occurs time after time in the book of Deuteronomy is "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt." This is an important reminder and one that we must take.
In Deuteronomy, Moses repeats this phrase to motivate the people to follow a command. For instance: freeing servants, treating foreigners well and honoring the Sabbath.
God also reminds Israel over and over about their redemption. God, especially in Deuteronomy 8-11, reminds the people how He saved them. He reminds them that He didn't choose them because of their strength, because they weren't strong; He choose them because He wanted to be good to them. As Pastor Tim Keller has said, "We are chosen people, but we are not a choice people." He reminds them how they went to Egypt as seventy people and He brought them out as a multitude, a nation.
Many of us need the reminders that God gave the nation of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy. We need to remember our past. We need to remember our redemption story.
Too often we forget who we once were. We hear someone cursing like a sailor and we forget that we once did that. We hear someone's stories of sexual conquest and forget that we once wanted that life. We see people in need of saving and forget that we are a saved person and we weren't saved from nothing. Those we judge may be slaves to sin, but remember you were a slave to sin, too.
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And this is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do not forget your past lest you become a proud, stuck-up, judgmental, poisonous sort of Christian. Remember that you were once a slave to sin before God provided an exodus for you in the person of Christ Jesus. Pursue personal righteousness, but don't be proud.
Remember your past in a way that motivates you to be a more gracious, more merciful person today.