Deuteronomy 8:10-20

You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today.

When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting 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 terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good.

 Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

 If you do forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord is destroying before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 8:10-20.

When I first moved to Houston the church I served had an excellent Mother’s Day Out program. One of our parents, Ezra Idlet, had partnered with Keith Grimwood to form a two man band they named “Trout Fishing in America.” (They are still making music together today.) I quickly became a fan.

One of their songs that comes to mind to me most often is entitled “No Matter What Goes Right.” The repeated line is “I’ll still be loving you, no matter what goes right.” The idea behind that lyric is the same idea behind today’s text from Deuteronomy.

It is easy, it is natural, to turn to God when times are tough. “There are no atheists in foxholes” is a cliché born out of that desperate tendency to turn to God in hard times. To turn to the God of the last resort. Which then gives rise to the common but widely discredited idea of the “God of the Gaps.” We turn God into a fire station – out of sight and mind until the house is on fire – instead of seeing God in, with, and under all of the moments and places of our lives.

God wants more from us, and with us, than that. God invites us into a trusting relationship in all times, good and bad.

That desire is emphasized in the harsh words of warning in this text – you can’t get any stronger than “If you do forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.” Are those words intended more as a powerful deterrent than a quid pro quo for gratitude and obeisance?

The good news is that Jesus helps us see that God is more lover than landlord. God doesn’t keep score. God doesn’t foreclose on our mortgage or ask “what have you done for me lately?” in hearing our prayers. The bad news is that just as we might eagerly turn toward God in hard times, we just as quickly turn away from God when times are good. We might think that makes God all the more vulnerable to our fickleness but the deeper truth is that we are far more vulnerable than we realize to our self centeredness.

Another famous oldie but goodie song asked the question, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” This is Deuteronomy’s question as well. Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, all that we have, all that we are, our gifts, our abilities, our passions, and our possessions are gifts from your loving hand. Our lives are sacred trusts, signs of your love and instruments of our capacity to be a blessing to others. In good times and in bad times, may we never lose sight of you, even as you never lose sight of us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Deuteronomy 8:10-20”

  1. Dave Aemstrong Says:

    Amen!!!

  2. Gene Says:

    That’ll preach!!!

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