“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—” (Deuteronomy 4:9, ESV)

The danger that the Israelites faced as they prepared to enter the land of promise–the danger that we all face in following Christ–was that they would forget what God had already accomplished in their lives, “the things that your eyes have seen.”  They were to follow God “all the days of your life,” and they were to pass on their faith to their children and grandchildren.

The word that is translated “keep” means “to watch over or to guard.”  This would imply that our souls need watching over because they are prone to drift away from the Lord.  God understood the temptation of the Promised Land, the people would live in greater comfort than they had in the desert, they would not need to rely upon the Lord for manna every day, they would get involved in the work of establishing roots and traditions and clearing fields and planting crops.

Life itself tends to draw us away from the Lord because we are consumed with working on the immediate and those things that require our attention.  It’s all too easy to let the work of following God become a less important part of our lives. The anecdote is this careful guarding of our souls to ensure that they do not drift away from our Lord. Part of this diligent watching is passing the truths of the faith on to our children and to their children.

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