We begin the New Year by jumping back into our ‘Devoted’ series in Deuteronomy, in which David led us through a series of Moses’ ‘farewell speeches’ before the Israelites entered the promised land, after forty years in the wilderness. We hear a simple, yet important message from Deuteronomy chapter 8: Don’t forget God.
Do you find it easier to forget God when things are going well or when things are tough? From today’s passage we see how there are dangers of forgetting God in both seasons of life.
In Deuteronomy chapter 8, Moses called the Israelites to remember all that God had done in the past forty years in the wilderness. Here we learn three things about seasons of wilderness and trials: God is present, God has a purpose, and God provides.
1. God was PRESENT with the Israelites:
2. God had a PURPOSE for the Israelites during those forty years:
God always has a purpose for the trials we go through in life. For the Israelites, it was to humble them by showing them what it really meant to rely on God – for everything, including food. God also was testing them, seeing what was truly in their hearts. The same is true for us today – when we face trials, how we respond tests the reality of our faith. Circumstances don’t make a person; they reveal a person.
3. God PROVIDED in the wilderness:
Moses wanted the Israelites to look back and remember those wilderness years, because, although they were tough, God was present, He had a purpose, and He was providing for them. We often grow most in the wilderness years.
But what about the times when life is going well? We have a tendency then to forget God. Too easily we lose our focus and dependence on God and this leads us into disobedience. Moses warned the Israelites against this as they prepared to enter the promised land:
Moses gives advice regarding this tendency to forget God…
In addition to forgetting God during good times, there is also a danger of pride. Moses warns the Israelites against this:
When life goes well, our heart can become proud, and we may even start to give ourselves credit for the good things we have. However, in reality, everything we have is from God, who gives and takes away.
So how do we escape this inclination towards pride? Turn to Jesus, the bread of life. David encouraged us to ponder this question: “What is it that sustains you?”. Pause and take a moment to truly answer that question. Can we sincerely say that God is our sustainer? If we want to escape pride, we need to realise that Jesus is the only one who can sustain us. Moses reiterates this:
This is what sustains us – God’s written Word, and the living Word, Jesus. As we approach a new year, let’s immerse ourselves in God’s Word and look to Jesus, whatever season of life we find ourselves in.
1. Think back over the seasons of wilderness in your own life. How can you see God’s presence, purpose and provision in those seasons?
2. When do you find it easiest to forget God? What ways can you remember God as you enter this new year?