Scripture: Deuteronomy 9:1 Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan today, to go in and dispossess nations larger and mightier than you, great cities, fortified to the heavens, 2 a strong and tall people, the offspring of the Anakim, whom you know…4 When the Lord your God thrusts them out before you, do not say to yourself, “It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to occupy this land”; it is rather because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you… for you are a stubborn people.
Observation: Through Moses, God the Father was keeping it real with the Israelites. Yes, they would receive the land promised to them – but not because of anything they’d done to earn it. Quite the contrary. They were a “stubborn” people – continually resisting the laws of God.
Application: No one would accuse me and my family of being wealthy by Western standards, but we are doing fine. We have everything we need, and then some. Chances are, so do you. And while I certainly work for a living, my faith teaches me that everything I have is a gift from God the Father.
Just last week a group from our church were on a mission trip in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico – just across the border from El Paso, Texas. There is deep poverty in Juarez, and until fairly recently, great violence between warring drug cartels. The people I’ve met from Juarez are tremendous, and many are particularly hard workers. If income were simply a factor of willingness to work hard, many of my friends in Juarez would be wealthy indeed. However, they happened to be born into an economically impoverished part of the world, while I was born into one of the wealthiest nations in human history. Why? I don’t know. But this I do know.
Like the ancient people Israel, I cannot take credit for the material bounty my family and I enjoy. Yes, we work hard, but we have been afforded opportunities that most people in the world can only dream about – education, industry, and so on. Also like the ancient people Israel, I am not blessed because of my righteousness or godliness. I too am a stubborn child of God, aware of God’s will and ways and defying them anyway.
Don’t kid yourself brothers and sisters.We are blessed in spite of our stubborn nature. For that, we give thanks to God the Father.
Prayer: Gracious God, you are so good to us despite the fact that we continually rebel against you in ways large and small. Give us hearts of gratitude to recognize this reality today and everyday. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.