TODAY’S READING: Deuteronomy 24–27
Deuteronomy (the second law) is a reminder of the central points of the covenant between God and man. On the cusp of entering the promised land, on the eve of going on into glory, Moses used his last words to remind his people of what was most vital. They were to constantly remember that they were redeemed. They were to constantly remember who redeemed them. They were to constantly remember that the One who redeemed them wanted to use them as His agent of redemption among all peoples of earth.
But you shall remember that you were a slave…redeemed (Deut. 24:18). Missionary zeal flows from gratefulness—a gratefulness that we are under the blood of Jesus, safe from the wrath of God, saved from God by God for God. What we announce to others is alive because we have experienced it. We announce redemption because we can’t stop singing the song of the redeemed. We push past barriers and fear because we can’t get over what Jesus has done for us. It overwhelms us every morning and we rejoice in it every night. Missionary zeal is sustained when we sing from the heart:
redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
His child, and forever I am.
But you shall remember…the Lord [Jehovah] your God redeemed you (v. 18). Jehovah is not like the other gods. Jehovah comes near. Jehovah tabernacles with man. Jehovah talks with man face to face. Jehovah is holy and demands His people be holy. All the laws and guidelines are for a beautiful purpose—that we can be a people holy Jehovah can walk among, live among, and bless. The rituals, sacrifices, regulations, and rules (the law) are not burdensome to us then, for they help us live in community in such a way that Jehovah can live with us. Jehovah is the one true God and He delights to live among us. We remember that our God is a God who is holy and a God who comes near. No other god perfectly combines the holiness and mercy of our God, the only true God.
But you shall remember that you were…in Egypt (v. 18). The story of Jehovah coming down to redeem and live with men was played out before the nations. The people of God were redeemed out of Egypt, and as such they were ever to remember the nations. They needed to remember the stranger when they harvested their fields and their olive trees (vv. 19–20). When they gathered grapes (vv. 21–22), they should remember the other ethnicities around them because they were once slaves in Egypt. The connection to Egypt was really a connection to the whole narrative, a remembering of the why, and the why, good or bad, was played out in front of the nations (25:17–19). When first fruits were given, the people were to publicly remember and say: “My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt…. But the Egyptians mistreated us…. Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice…and brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand…” (26:4–11). After remembering that the context of redemption was linked to the nations, the worshiper was to rejoice with the Levite “and the stranger” who was among them (v. 11).
The Bible is relentless. It will not let us forget that God is a missionary God and desires us to be a missionary people. We are instructed that when we have finished our normal worship (v. 12), we are to tell the Lord we have not forgotten the stranger nor His commandments (v. 13) which are ever linked. We can then in confidence know that God will look down from heaven as we ask for the blessing of our fathers (v. 15). When we remember well, God too remembers His promise of blessing: He will be our God. We will be His holy people (vv. 16–18). He will live among us, and He will bless us to bless all the unreached peoples of earth.
Let us sing the songs of redemption today. Let us sing them over us and let us sing them over the Hakka of Taiwan. Let’s sing for the four million who have yet to lift their voices.
 Fanny J. Crosby. “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It!” Hymn published 1882.