Remember To Remember! – I Deuteronomy 5:15

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

David Akinwale is a medical student and a lifestyle blogger. He has some good stuff on his website, David Says…. But I take issue with the opening statement of his February 12th, 2016 blog:

     People say it is very important to keep in mind things 
     you’ve done in the past so that you can have an evidence 
     for what your life turns out to be. I say history is 
     nothing but history. What you have done in the past has 
     absolutely no role to play in your future. We have all 
     done things or been through situations that we are not 
     so proud of or happy with, which is part of life.   

Yes, we can focus too much on our mistakes of the past! But, “What you have done in the past has absolutely no role to play in your future…”?! This is not my understanding of what God has written in the Deuteronomy 5:15:

     And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, 
     and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a 
     mighty hand and by an outstretched arm.... 

God told the Israelites they must remember their past and His deliverance from Egypt! But first, let’s consider what Egypt represents in Scripture.

  • In a positive light, Egypt represents…
     ✡   ...refuge – Abraham (then called Abram) and Jacob 
         at different times both went down to Egypt with all 
         their family and belongings.  Both found refuge 
         from famine (see Genesis 12:10; 45:4-11).  Joseph, 
         with Mary and Jesus, also fled to Egypt to escape 
         the murderous fury of King Herod the Great! (See 
         Matthew 2:13-16).

     ✡ – And Moses was learned in all the 
         wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words 
         and deeds.” (Acts 7:22).

     ✡   ...prosperity – While the rest of the Middle East 
         was ignorant of the coming seven-year famine...

             ...throughout all the land of the 
             seven plentiful years the ground brought forth 
             abundantly....Joseph gathered very much grain 
             as the sand of the sea, until he stopped count-
             ing, for it was without number. (Genesis 41:45-
             47, 49). 

     ✡   ...power – History and archeology tell us that Egypt 
         was a very powerful nation during much of the Old 
         Testament period!
  • In a negative light, Egypt represents…
     ✡   ...slavery and oppression – The Egyptians enslaved 
         the Hebrew people for generations (see Exodus 1:8-
         14; 5:5-19).

     ✡   ...death –Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Heb-
         rew midwives... ‘When you...see...the Hebrew women 
         on the birthstools, if it is a son...kill him; but 
         if it is a daughter, she shall live.’” (Exodus 1:15,
         16).  But when the midwives didn’t obey Pharoah, new 
         orders were given:  “Every son who is born you shall 
         cast into the [Nile] river, and every daughter you 
         shall save alive.” (Exodus 1:22).

One of the most forceful negative representations of Egypt is that it represents the pagan Godless world!

  • When Abram was in Egypt to escape famine (see above), there is no Scriptural record of him worshiping God the whole time he was there!
     ✡   Twice the patriarch built altars to worship 
         Jehovah before he went to Egypt! (See Genesis 
         12:7 & 8). 

     Upon his return to Canaan, he sought out the 
         second altar he had built,...between Bethel 
         and Ai...And there Abram called on the name of 
         the LORD.” (Genesis 13:3, 4).
  • Lot, Abram’s nephew, had gone with his uncle into Egypt.
     Both men, each being wealthy with flocks and herds, 
         had to go their separate ways because, “...the land 
         was not able to support them...for their possessions 
         were so great that they could not dwell together.” 
        (Genesis 13:6).

     Abram graciously gave Lot first choice of where to 
         dwell (see Genesis 13:9).

             And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain 
             of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere 
             (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) 
             like the garden of the Lord, like the land of 
             Egypt as you go toward Zoar.  Then Lot chose 
             for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot 
             journeyed east. And they separated from each 
             other. (Genesis 13:10, 11).

What was it that attracted Lot to choose all the plain of Jordan? It was that it reminded him of Egypt! Apparently he was infatuated with Egypt! And where is the vast plain Lot chose for himself? It is the site of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that God destroyed! (Genesis 19:27-29). It is now under the Dead Sea, one of the most desolate places on earth!

Lot lost everything: his house, his city, the neighbors, his own sons-in-law (they thought he was joking when he warned them of the coming destruction – see Genesis 19:14), his wife (turned into a pillar of salt as she longingly looked back to Sodom – see Genesis 19:26), his reputation! He ended up getting drunk and impregnating his two daughters who then bore children who each fathered tribes which would be Israel’s perpetual enemies!

Back when tobacco companies were allowed to advertise on television, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company came up with a catchy jingle to sell Salem menthol cigarettes.

You can take Salem out of the country,
You can’t take the country out of Salem!

I am sure dating myself by remembering this 1968 ad. However, it can readily be applied to the experience of Lot!

You can take nephew Lot out of Egypt,
You can’t take Egypt out of Lot!

We will continue evaluating Egypt in our next Gem.