Deuteronomy 29:1-29 (Part 1) – It’s Like When Our Parents Become Smart Again…After We Have Kids

Posted: April 23, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 29:1-29 (Part 1 of 4)

Moses Reviews the Covenant

When we are kids, we often do not see the sacrifices that our parents make for us. Parents generally sacrifice for their children not out of some obligation that will eventually get repaid but rather because they love their children with all their hearts, minds, and their souls. They keep no ledger of how much they spend on their children so that they can collect on it after their children reach adulthood. Often, parents continue to help their children even after they become adults albeit less frequently than when the kids were at home. It just goes with the territory of being a parent. It is a lifetime commitment not just 0-18 years.

 

However, as children, we just are blind to what our parents do for us. We think that clean clothes just magically appear in our closets. We think that our parents are our taxi cab service. We think that we have a right to the things that we want and that our parents are supposed to give these things to us. We don’t recognize that our parents are often hardworking people that give their all at work each day and then come home and give their all to us. Sure, when we are little, we think of our parents as invincible, but with each year we grow, our attitudes toward our parents change. They become less and less giants and more and more our prison guards. They go from being the smartest people in the world to the most incredibly clueless people in the world by the time we reach our teenage years. During our teenage years, we rebel against their authority but yet expect them to put food in our bellies, clothes on our backs, and cars to drive. We expect these things as if they are our servants and we have some inalienable right to the fruits of their labors but yet at the same time treat them like they are idiots. Often times, as teenagers, we treat our garbage man who stops by once a week to pick up our garbage better than we treat our parents. Yet, for all the abuse and ridicule that we load upon our parents, often as teenagers, they still love us though they are tough on us during this time. It is often a battle of wills and it is most often that parents win. However, the kids think of their parents as necessary evils as teenagers. We think we could do so much better if they would just let us do things our own way. When we leave home, we won’t have to put up with all their rules. Their rules are just arbitrary to us and we could do such a better job.

 

Then, we get out on our own (either after high school or after post-secondary education) and our parents become a little smarter again. We figure out that the dishes won’t get clean by themselves. We figure out that if we don’t clean up the living room it will stay nasty. We figure out if we don’t do the laundry, clean clothes will not magically appear in our closets. We figure out too that we must make money to pay the bills. Wow, mom and dad did do a lot for us, we think. We allow them some more honor as we begin to have our eyes opened to the realities of life in our culture. You work. You get paid. You paid for your housing, utilities, your transportation, your groceries, and then live off the rest of what you make til the next paycheck. That’s life and that’s responsibility. We begin to realize that our parents are little smarter than we gave them credit for when we were at home.

 

It is not, however, until we become parents ourselves that our parents return to their status as the giants of wisdom that we made them out to be when we were small children. We they leave you in the hospital room with your first child for the first time, we are afraid. There is this whole other life that is now dependent on you, and often you alone, for everything. Every time they cry, it’s you as parents. Every time, they need a clean diaper, it’s you as the parents. Every time, they need to eat, it’s you. Everything they need, it’s you. This little life is both frightening and awe-inspiring. They don’t come with instruction books on how to raise them. Each child is different too. It’s so scary being a parent. We realize then that we have no clue and that, as young parents, you have to go with your gut a lot when it comes to your kids. And you realize too that you have resources – your parents and your spouse’s parents. Your parents become smart again. They are a wealth of resources when it comes to parent. You realize that they raised you up to be a reasonably responsible adult who has committed no major crimes so they must have done something right! Our parents become smart again. That’s when our parents become more than parents to us. They actually transition into being our friends when we have our own kids. We learn about how much they loved us growing up even when we did not realize it ourselves. We realize that we have that same selfless love for our children as they had for us. We have a common bond and an amazing new respect for our parents.

 

It was this aspect of Israel not realizing the providential care that God had given them during their journey in the wilderness for 40 years. They just expected it. It was like teenagers and parents to me. That’s what I thought about this morning as I read through this chapter of Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy 29. We will spend about 4 blogs on this chapter. This morning, let us focus on vv. 1-7.

 

Let us read it together this morning:

 

29 [a]These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.

 

2 Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:

 

Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. 3 With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. 4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. 5 Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. 6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

 

7 When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. 8 We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

 

9 Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. 10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14 I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.

 

16 You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through the countries on the way here. 17 You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold. 18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.

 

19 When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20 The Lord will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the Lord will blot out their names from under heaven. 21 The Lord will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.

 

22 Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it. 23 The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger. 24 All the nations will ask: “Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?”

 

25 And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. 27 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. 28 In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.”

 

29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

 

Just as the people of Israel did not notice God’s care for them along their journey, we, too, do not notice all the ways that God takes of us. We do not notice that our daily needs have been supplied and we have been well-fed and well-clothed. Worse yet, we mistakenly take credit ourselves for being good providers instead of recognizing God’s hand in the process.

 

Like teenagers, the Israelites just came to expect the manna would be there. Our teenagers often think that the money to do what they want is just going to be provided to them and they do not appreciate it. Israel was the same way with God. We are the same way with God.

 

How often do we thank God for the abilities that He gives us that allows us to earn our livings? How often we thank God for guiding us to wise financial decisions? How often do we thank God for providing our homes and safety for our families? How often do we thank God for the fact that we can take care of our wives and children and provide for their every need? How often are we thankful that God provided us a wife that is not only a great support to us but also a wonderful mother to our children? How often do we take stock of how much God has blessed us?

 

Many of us are like teenagers when it comes to our spiritual journey with the Lord. We grow up loving Jesus as little children, but as we grow older and think we know it all, we rebel against him and stray far away from God. Like teenagers learning that the real world is tough when they get out their own, we too learn that we cannot manage our lives and we need Jesus. Jesus becomes pretty smart again. We have a newfound respect for Him and we submit ourselves to his authority willingly at this point. We realize that God is not something to rebel against but to embrace. We learn that there is actually great wisdom in His Word and we mature in its understanding and its application to our lives. God becomes smart again. Well, you know what I mean. God never went anywhere, we did. God was never without great wisdom and love for us. We rebelled. God was not without providential care for us. We simply decided not to notice.

 

Let us realize how much God loved us when we weren’t paying attention. Let us realize how much God loves us now even in the mundane details of life. Let us realize how much He has blessed us (even though those blessings may not be monetary). Let us realize how much He cares for our every breath. He loves us like a parent loves a child. As soon as our child comes out of his/her mother’s womb, we love them just because they breath. They need no other reason to have our love. They just have it. God loves us in that way even we rebel against Him, even when we don’t notice.

 

One of the beauties of growing up as a Christ follower is to realize how much God does care for us in each and every breath we take.

 

Amen and Amen.

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