Devotion for the Week...
I have to say that life is pretty good in the Parsons' household. Paul and I both have work, the boys are all healthy, we have an abundance of food, there is wood stacked out back to heat the house and spring is on its way. Oh, and I've been doing lots of fun quilting! I hope you can list a similar abundance of good things in your life. But have you ever stopped to think about how the good things in life sometimes make us forget about God?
Moses knew about this prosperity-induced forgetfulness, and he warned the Israelites about it in Deuteronomy 8. He told them, "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; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 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" (Deuteronomy 8:7-9). In other words, God would bring them into a land where they would have everything they needed. They would not only lack nothing, but they wouldn't even have to start from scratch because the land had already been settled. The Israelites would simply move in and enjoy vineyards and land ready to be cultivated. No taming the wilderness needed.
But listen to what Moses said next. "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 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. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 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" (vv. 10-14). He knew what would happen. He knew their hearts and how quickly they would turn away from God, forgetting that everything comes from Him.
Of course, that's exactly what happened. Over time, the Israelites turned away from God over and over, choosing instead to worship the gods of the people around them. To regain their attention, God allowed other nations to rule over His people, including the nation of the Midianites, and "Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help" (Judges 6:6). They were living in a land where they should have had everything they needed and wanted, but because they forgot God they lost everything. Then, when they had nothing, they remembered their God again.
More than anything, God wants our attention to be focused on Him. When life is easy, sometimes it's also easy for us to be distracted by all the good things we have. We 'eat and are satisfied' and we forget about God. But then, when life gets hard, we remember Him. We cry out to Him for healing or for financial help or in anguish for a child in trouble. Many people will say that the hard times in their lives brought them closer to God. King David even said, "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees" (Psalm 119:71).
My question is, why wait? Why wait for the hard times before turning to God? Why not focus on Him when life is good? Moses told the Israelites, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you" (Deuteronomy 8:10). Let's live our lives full of thanks and praise to God for the good things He has given us.
Keeping our focus on God when life is good doesn't mean we'll never encounter sickness or trouble, but it does mean God will never have to send the Midianites to impoverish us to get out attention.
Want to start now? Leave me a comment sharing some of the good things God has given you.