03/01/16 Idolatry, Forgetfulness, and Arrogance

READING: Deuteronomy 8-10

Are you in a good place in life? Do you look around and see the blessings of God? Might you be looking forward to where God is leading you, believing that what tomorrow holds is exciting and challenging? 

Sometimes, we most need to hear God’s warnings when everything seems to be falling into place — when all the puzzle pieces seem to be fitting together quite nicely.   

These readings in the first section of Deuteronomy are Moses’ warnings to the Israelites as they finally prepared to enter the Promised Land. They have been here before and failed, but they were prepared this time to take the land. Blessings awaited — and dangers lurked.  In particular, Moses noted these dangers:

  1. The pagan religions in the land might influence the Hebrews in a wrong direction. As yesterday’s reading pointed out, the people of God might allow culture to influence them more than they would influence the culture: Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you (Deut 7:16). They might turn to idols they can see rather than trust the God they cannot see. 
  2. The people of God might forget God in their prosperity, assuming that their hard work is the source of their blessingsOtherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. . . . You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me” (Deut 8:12-13, 17). 
  3. The people might think they are blessed simply because they are righteousUnderstand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people (Deut 9:6). In so doing, they might forget that God gives them the land not because of their righteousness, but because of His righteousness that brings justice on wicked nations.

Pam and I are in a good place in life — blessed by God. I’m reminded by the Word today, though, that this can be a dangerous place. All of us live in the danger of following idols of materialism, getting satisfied and forgetting God in our prosperity, assuming we've earned our blessings, and thinking our own righteousness makes a difference.

God help us. 

ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps:

  • Make a list of God’s blessings in your life. As you do, focus on this truth: “I do not have this blessing because of me. It’s because of God.”   
  • Evaluate where your thinking is most susceptible: allowing ungodly culture to influence you, forgetting God and assuming you’ve earned your blessings, or thinking that God blesses you because you’re righteous. Confess your tendency to God.       

PRAYER: “Lord, You are the One I praise today, for You alone are God. Everything belongs to You. Do not let me fall into any of these traps.”  

TOMORROW’S READING:  Deuteronomy 11-13