April 28, 2010

Lest we forget

Deuteronomy 8 was the public scripture reading at church this past Sunday. What a convicting passage of scripture this is!

Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth.

Deuteronomy 8 is an encouragement to not allow ourselves to think that we have arrived. We should not look at our successes and puff out our chests with pride saying, “Look what I have done.” I must admit that I have difficulty with this.

It seems that when things are going a little bit rough I turn to God in prayer and plead, “Please help me!” But when I’m doing well I begin to brag to others about my accomplishments and my perceived successes. I have even found myself belittling others at times like these—belittling them because they are not at that particular moment enjoying as much success as I am.

But this is not the way God wants me to act.

The beginning of Deuteronomy 8 reminds Israel that although they went through difficult times while they were enslaved in Egypt, God brought them out to a fertile land and prospered them greatly. Then the passage continues:

Deuteronomy 8:11-20

“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

God obviously does not take our braggadocio or bravado lightly. I need to make sure that I refrain from taking the credit for God’s work.


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