Years ago, I had a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, and for reasons I can’t fathom or remember now, I named her Whitney. Such an absurd name for a dog.
I remember the day we bought her. I had seen a notice at the vet that there was a female Yorkie for sale for a rock bottom price. My husband and I drove way out into the country, off the main highway, and down a dirt road, until we stopped in front of a worn little trailer. Out back, a long line of dog pens stretched down the length of the property.
It was a puppy mill.
I really had no desire to buy a dog from a puppy mill, but when we saw her, my heart broke a little. She was filthy, but reeked of the cheap perfume with which she had been doused to cover up the smell. All of the hair was worn off her muzzle.
I couldn’t leave her behind.
And that is the story of how we paid too much for a pitiful little dog. We bought her because I felt sorry for her.
She lived for 13 years and during that time, rarely left my side. She worshiped me, you see, because she never forgot the misery from which she came, or who had taken her out of it.
The Decalogue, the Ten Great Commandments of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, begins with the challenge for Israel to remember the misery from which she came, and Who delivered her out of it-
Hear the commandment of God to his people: I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage. You shall have no other gods but me.
Amen. Lord have mercy.
The exact language here in both Exodus and Deuteronomy is “out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7) God is prompting Israel to look back, to remember-
Remember Who He is..
He is The LORD, Jehovah, the eternally existent One.
He is their God, Elohim, the Supreme One.*
Remember where He found them…
They were in Egypt, the house of bondage.
Remember what He did for them…
He “brought them out,” delivered them from slavery.
In essence, He said this-
“I Am the One who exists eternally, the Supreme Being Who delivered you out of the house of your bondage, out of slavery.
This is Who I Am.
I am the one true God. Worship Me alone. Don’t bow down to anything less.”
How strange that God had to say it, isn’t it?
Worship me alone. Have no other gods.
After all, apart from Him, Israel would still be in the house of bondage, still suffering in slavery.
But God knows the forgetfulness of human hearts, the unfaithfulness. He knows we are so easily duped by counterfeits. And so He inoculates Israel against idolatry with the remedy of remembrance.
Remember Who I Am…
Remember Where you were…
Remember what I did for you…
As I consider Israel, I know this is true for my life as well. If I am to live a life of faithfulness, my each and every day must begin with the remembrance and from there, worship and thanks.
Infinite, Eternal One,
There is none like You. You alone are holy, almighty and supreme. You alone are worthy of praise.
How can it be that You, Jehovah Elohim, the One Who is high and lifted up, would hear my cry from the house of my bondage, then stoop low to set me free?
May my heart ever overflow in gratitude and praise.
And may the remembrance of my deliverance be a fitting remedy for my wandering heart.
*Laridian, Inc, version 3.4.0, 2015, Craig Rairdin
The Holy Bible, King James Version, With Strong’s Numbers, Laridian, Marion, Iowa