Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (Part 5) – So God? If I Obey Your Word, Then, You Are Going to Gimme Cash, Right?

Posted: January 7, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (Part 5 of 6)

Love the Lord Your God

 

The prosperity gospel. We can expect only good things when we follow God with all our hearts, right? When we obey God’s Word, success and prosperity will be all we know. If you are suffering, it is because you are not obeying God’s Word in some way, right? It can become so easy to think that.

 

For example, Elena and I are living in a season of blessing right now. We have no children at home. We have successfully paid off all of our debt with the exception of one car (that we had to buy recently, a 2007 gently used Toyota 4-Runner, due to my 1997 Ford F150 deciding to blow its engine). My job at Fujikura America, Inc. provides for us generously so much so that Elena has not HAD to work since January 2010. We are able to be generous to our church and our family. We are truly blessed. We thank God for it. It is not lost on us that this season is a special season right now. We know that it is a season. It is not some permanent thing that we are entitled to.

 

Elena and I, both, before we met have known the struggles of tight finances. I personally know of poor decisions that led to poor credit ratings. I personally know of having such a bad credit score that you give up on getting anything on credit. I personally know of having high interest, secondary market loans because of my credit score. I personally know of cringing every time the phone rang with a number not already identified in contacts because it was most likely a bill collector. I personally know of going through divorces and splitting up property, signing away property, and how a divorce can drain your finances. I personally know of having that mindset that I don’t care if unsecured creditors don’t get paid. As long as they don’t take my car and my ability to take vacations, I’m good. I remember that mentality. I would not return there for anything. Elena and I have worked hard to get our, and particularly my, financial situation under control. It involved choices of taking a vacation or paying off old debts. It involved self-control rather than self-indulgence.

 

Having said all that, we are tithers and more now. We live in a season where we can give generously to our church. It is easy for me to fall into the trap that one thing leads to the other like it is some investment/payback scenario. It is easy to think that because I am being generous in tithing that it leads to financial and other blessings that I live in at the moment. I could fall prey to the prosperity gospel syndrome rather easily. It is easy to think that when you are in a season of blessing. That one thing has to do with the other is an easy trap to fall into even when you know the truth of the Bible. It is easy to think that our obedience should be rewarded in ways that are tangibly human in nature. It is easy to believe that worldly rewards and pleasures are the results of our obedience to the Lord.

 

That’s the thing that I thought of this morning when reading through Deuteronomy 6:1-25 another time. This morning, I thought about this concept of obedience and blessing being connected in our minds. Today, in this passage, I focused on vv. 24-25:

 

6 These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

 

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

 

10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 

13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.

 

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

 

Here, in vv. 24-25, we see that obedience and blessing are connected. It says that. Does the phrase, “so He can continue to bless us and preserve our lives” mean that we can expect only good things and no suffering when we obey God? What is promised here is a right relationship with God for all those who love Him with all their hearts. It speaks of a good relationship with God and the ultimate benefit of having a close relationship with Him. It is not blanket protection against poverty, adversity, or suffering. When God speaks of the blessings that come from obedience is understanding the right order of things between us and Him. When God speaks of blessings that come from obedience, He is speaking of the inner joy that comes to you in knowing that we will not be led astray by the Creator of All Things. It is the joy of knowing that God’s commands are intended to keep us from harm and to position us for eternity with Him. When God speaks of blessings that come from obedience, He speaks of the love that we have for God that makes us desire to do what He says not out of obligation but by nature of wanting to please Him. The blessings of obedience are the changed heart and changed mind.

 

A person that knows He is blessed by God is one who knows we are mere travelers here on earth and that we have the greatest of all places to call home – in heaven praising our Savior all the day long. A person who knows He is blessed by God lives a life of joy not by earthly standards but by eternal ones, where we know what we deserve (hell) and how we avoided it (Jesus Christ). We are joyful and blessed through that not by how much money we accrue after being obedient for a while.

 

We are not guaranteed a rose garden when we are obedient to the Lord. We may actually end up worse off by earthly standards if we are obedient to the Lord. We may suffer because of our obedience. We may even die because of obedience to God. The blessings of obedience are eternally oriented and not that God is going to put cash in your account just because you are obedient. If you are expecting earthly wealth as a direct result of trying to be obedient to the Lord, then, we have become misguided.

 

I think the thing that Elena and I have learned over the past decade together is that the true blessings of obedience to the Lord, particularly financially, come in the form of a changed mindset. We view the world through new lenses now. We see that our money belongs to God. He gives me the talents that I have to go out and earn the money that I earn. We then see it as our obedient responsibility to live on 90% or less of what I earn so that we can be obedient to the Lord – not because we want some payback, but rather because we desire to be obedient to the trusted, true, eternal Word of God. We have learned to live a more simple life. We have learned to be content not chasing after things and toys. We have learned that new and improved is not always better. We don’t have to have the newest toys are cars. There is wondrous contentment that comes from getting off the American Dream merry-go-round. That’s the blessing is the changed mindset away from things and onto pleasing God. There is contentment that comes from lovingly obeying Him. That’s the blessing not how much God has blessed us in our bank account.

 

Amen and Amen.

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