“And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 31:9-13)
While there was to be a memorial with the entire law on mount Ebal and the Jews were to post portions of the law on their gates and around their homes, it is easy to forget things. Every seventh year, they were to assemble the entire congregation and read the entire law during the feast of tabernacles, the national campout remembering their forty years in the wilderness. Taking the time to do this would refresh their memories of what the law said, and remind them of things they might not have realized in the past. At the same time it would formally introduce the children to the law and to what God expected.
While most of us would prefer to learn new things, it is easy to forget that new Christians don’t know the old ones, and that we forget. Teaching the basics is not just for the disciple ship program or the new converts class. II Peter 1:12-13 says we are negligent if we fail to review the basics. “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;” In I Timothy 4:6, Paul said reminding them of these things will make one a good minister. “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”
While it may seem a little tedious to repeat the same things, it enables the hearers to keep doing the proper things, I Philippians 3:1 Paul says, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.” Realizing how important it is to remind them of the basics makes it far easier to focus on those things. While it may be more exciting to teach calculus or algebra, it is far more important that the student learns and remembers how to add and subtract. The same principle applies to being a Christian.