Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.
As Moses continued his instruction and exhortation to Israel regarding their covenant with the Lord, he now gives lessons from the past to warn them of rebelling against the he Lord (8:1-10:11).
Israel’s years of wandering in the wilderness had a disciplinary aim (vv. 1-5). They were to learn the necessity of God’s Word for life: believing and obeying him resulted in life, disobedience and unbelief brought death. It wasn’t a matter of physical “necessities;” God miraculously provided those. Thus, when Israel received God’s miraculous provision of the promised land, they were to focus on the Lord and his Word, not the physical bounty they enjoyed (vv. 6-10).
Moses warned Israel of the great danger of physical prosperity: forgetting God by not obeying him (vv. 11-17). Such forgetfulness resulting in apostasy (v. 19a) is gradual, never sudden. In Israel’s case, as they focused on the bounty of the land they would lose the discipline of focusing on the Lord. God’s deliverance from Egypt and provision in the wilderness would be forgotten and they would take the credit for their great prosperity. Forgetting God would be manifested by their throwing his commands aside and focusing on prosperity and abundance.
Moses’ admonition and warning was that Israel must focus on the Lord, not things (vv. 18-20). When they focused on the Lord they would enjoy God’s continued blessings as he promised to the patriarchs. When they focused on things they would turn from the Lord and worship idols, and in doing so they would perish. Believing and obeying the Lord brought life, disobedience in unbelief brought death.
- God’s purpose in trials is to strengthen faith by seeking and trusting him in the difficult circumstances.
- Believers must not orient their lives toward or by the necessities of life, but rather on doing God’s will. Cf. Matt 6:31-34; Phil 4:11-13; Col 3:1-4; 1 Tim 4:8; 6:6-10
- God’s preventatives for apostasy are his Word; faithful, trusting obedience to it; remembering he is the God from whom all blessings flow; and the discipline and training he provides through trials.
- The right response to God’s blessing and bounty is praise, thanksgiving, and obedience, (cf. vv. 6, 10).
- Beware the peril of apostasy in times of prosperity and ease. The seeds of apostasy are self-centeredness and forgetting God, and are planted in the heart. Those seeds grow to be life-choking weeds (Mark 4:19).