Deuteronomy 8:1-20 – Why Is That We Drift Away From God When Things Are Going Good

Posted: January 13, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 8:1-20

A Call to Remember & Obey

 

For the past several days in which I have had a final interview for admission into the doctoral program at North Greenville University and then a phone interview concerning an executive pastor’s position in south Florida, one commonality between the two interviews was something that I said in response to questions in those interviews. Each interview had a separate purpose and this same response was given to different questions. As a maturing Christian, I notice things like that. The same message from the Lord coming from different sources. The questions asked don’t matter but it the same response that matters because of the fact that the same response was given to differing questions. That is when you have to notice and see what God is having to say. Why is He given me this common theme? I must take notice.

 

The common thread was the response that we must make God’s Word and our relationship more than just a box that we pull off the shelf on Sunday morning, open it and play with it, and then put that box back on the shelf on Sunday afternoon – not to be pulled off the shelf again until next Sunday. It was an illustrative answer to different questions that means that we must make God’s Word a part of our daily lives not just something we do on Sunday. Our lives cannot be dichotomously different during the week than it is during the week. In order for us to mature in Christ, we must apply God’s Word to our daily lives, not just play the game on Sunday. We must have Bibles that are more than coffee table centerpieces. We must have Bibles that have ragged edges and dog-eared pages from overuse. Our Bibles should have bindings that are starting to fall apart and pages that are about to fall out. We must make the Bible a functional and necessary part of our daily lives. We cannot apply its eternal principles to our lives if we don’t read it, learn it, live it. We must read it. We must meditate upon it and figure out what its message says to us for today, and then go out and apply it to our lives.

 

In this American culture in which we live, it is so easy to forget that God is the source of everything that we are. We live in such an opulent society that it is easy to take these things for granted and feel that we have a right to them. We take credit for our own prosperity and become proud. It is easy for us as a society to get so busy collecting and managing all of our stuff that we push God right to the curb. We begin to glorify the things that we have and the pursuit of them. We begin to think that life is about satisfying our own appetites. We are about the pursuit of wealth and status. If we can dress well, eat well, play well, we are then living the good life. Don’t you find it true that our nation was once a god-fearing nation because we had less and our country lived through successive hardships that required great sacrifices for much of its existence until after World War II. It is with the vast wealth that has trickled down to all the classes of people here since the mid-1940s that our country started drifting away from God. We have grown so accustomed to satisfying our every whim in ways that third world countries cannot imagine that we have drifted from God and started worshiping ourselves and our things.

 

It is this idea of putting God on the shelf and relegating Him to something that we toy with on weekends rather than making Him a part of our daily lives that I thought of when I read today’s passage, Deuteronomy 8:1-20:

 

8 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

 

6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

 

10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 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. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 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.

 

19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

 

In this passage, God warns the Israelites not to forget God when they transitioned from the hard knock life of the Sinai wilderness to the land of plenty in the Promised Land. That is the same warning that He has for our nation. It seems to be timeless human nature to forget God when we have all of our needs met and more. We tend to drift away into seeking our own pleasures. We tend to gravitate toward our lusts and our worldly passions. We then become so enamored with these lusts and passions that we justify how that sin is no longer sin and how we justify it as the new world order. Things have changed and what was once sin is now modern and forward thinking. We drift away from the Lord and think we are so modern for thinking and justifying our sins as self-actualization. We justify our sins as being OK now because that’s what we want to do and nobody should tell us different. We drift away from God’s Word because we no longer read it, learn it, live it.

 

Our life, even when we are in good times, should be dominated by making God the central part of our lives. We should be in His Word. We should realize that everything, even our wealth, our good times, come from the Lord and praise Him and obey Him in the good times and not just when we have crises in our lives and not just on Sunday morning. We must have dog-eared Bibles from eating up His Word like manna from heaven. As Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 (which He drew from this passage), man does not live by bread alone but by every word from God’s mouth. We must live and apply God’s Word to everything that we do. We must obey His Word every day. We must not get so wrapped up the self-pleasures of our society that we drift away from His Word and begin accepting those things as OK that are strictly against what God says in His Word. God is not a box that we pull down from the shelf and play with for a little bit and put back on the shelf. He should permeate who we are and we should make His Word the measure by which we live our lives.

 

Amen and Amen.

 

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