By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 7-9
Key Scripture Verses: Deuteronomy 8:17-18 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
When life is hard and we need help, we tend to go to God and appeal to him in prayer. Deuteronomy depicts the time of preparation as the Moses was teaching the people what God required of them as they were to enter The Promised Land—the land of Canaan—which fulfilled the promise to their ancestors. Moses reminds the people that God had provided for them, had brought them out of Egypt and slavery there, had provided water from a rock, had provided them with manna to eat. He warns them not to become complacent and not to forget God when food is plentiful and their crops are healthy and abundant. We need to lean on God in the good times and the bad.
The warning is not to become so satisfied with life that we start to believe that our good fortune is entirely due to our own efforts. A lot of people start to take the credit for their good fortune, believing that they deserve the rewards from their hard work. Moses is reminding them here that any good fortune comes because God has allowed it and or provided us with the ability to effect the necessary changes that will bring about wealth and prosperity. As we noted in earlier posts, all good things come from God. The ability and talents to create wealth are blessings from God.
Moses also tells the people that even though they will be supported by God in their efforts to conquer the Anakites and other peoples in Canaan, those blessings will be bestowed on them because of God’s favor and grace, not because of their goodness and righteousness. In fact, he points it out to them that they have been anything but righteous. They had defiantly disobeyed God at almost every chance. God was not giving them this land because of their obedience, but was taking it back from the wicked who had inhabited the land.
Moses reminds the Israelites that they were “stiff-necked people” who had refused to obey God’s commands and had stubbornly done things their own way. He reminded them how angry God was when they created idols to worship instead of trusting and worshiping him.
These verses are a lesson for us that we need to remain in prayer and thanksgiving at all times, remembering God when he blesses us, remembering God in the good times, as well as the bad.
When we start believing that we created our abundance and that it was all our idea and because of our personal goodness and talents, and that we are the reason good things come our way, God will humble us and discipline us. He will teach us that we are not self-sufficient without him—he is the one who has blessed us with gifts and talents, the ability to create and sustain wealth. We need to be careful not to push God out of our lives, but to stay in close relationship with him at all times.
May we always be grateful for our many blessings and remember that they come from the living God who loves us. May the power and glory be his.