Deuteronomy 8: Beyond the Land of Milk and Honey
“For the LORDyour 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.” (v.7 – 8)
The Covenant about possessing the Promised Land has been given first to Abraham and then passed through all the generations of Israelites. After God liberated His people from their slavery in Egypt, the Israelites are now moving fast to claim the Promised Land of Canaan – a land flowing with milk and honey. However, conquering Canaan, Moses talked to the Israelites and encouraged them once more of the Lord’s promises. He also implored the God’s chosen people to remember everything that God did for them as well as His commandments.
In our modern time, it is easy to remember God when we are undergoing some severe trials and problems. However, once we overcome that and experience some success in our life, we tend to forget the faithfulness of God for carrying us through our troubled times. Just like Moses' warning, we might say to ourselves, " My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” (v. 17) That is why we must not forget these four things:
1. Do Not Forget Where You Came From
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (v. 2)
The Israelites came a long way before coming to that place. They have been slaves in Egypt for 400 years and went through a lot of troubles with the Pharaoh before he gave up in pursuing them. They stayed in the wilderness for forty years because of their disobedience, and a lot of them died because of disregarding God's command.
Moses reminded them that they should not forget where they came from. They must remember all the lessons that their journey has thought them so as to avoid committing the same mistakes when they arrive in the land of Canaan.
All of us have a story to tell before God transformed our lives when we accepted Jesus. In our life stories, we learned some lessons the hard way and was hurt because of it. That is why we must not forget where we came from.
2. Do Not Forget God’s Faithfulness
“Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.” (v. 4)
Forty years in the wilderness is a very long time. Combined it with the fact that the Israelites move out regularly then you can imagine the hardship that they had to face when it comes to their basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. However, in spite all of this, God remained faithful to them. He provided food in the form of manna, a refuge in the form of tents, and as the verse says, clothing in the form of miraculously durable materials. In all of this, God proved His faithfulness.
In our modern day, God is continuously showing His people His immutable faithfulness. The words of Jesus captured the same essence when He said, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
3. Do Not Forget That God is the Reason
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” (v. 10)
It is easy to forget that God is the source of everything. In the case of the Israelites, Moses warned them of the possibility of committing the same mistake by thinking that it's their strength that they were able to possess the Promised Land. By this time, the military capacity of the Israelites is equal to an established Kingdom. Compared to the combined power of arms of the Canaanites and their fortified cities, then Israel's army was still lacking.
However, as we know in the history of their nation, they were able to subdue the land of Canaan. And throughout the battles that they have fought, it is the strength of God that carried them through. God is the reason for our victories. He is the giver of wisdom, strength, and power. Without Him, we cannot win the battles on our own. Therefore, we must never forget that the Lord is the reason for everything that we have.
4. Do Not Forget His Commands
“If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” (v. 19)
Before going to the land of Canaan, the Lord clearly lay down all His commands and instructions that must be obeyed by the Israelites. Included in this command is the warning against worshipping idols and other false gods. Perhaps in the history of the nation of Israel, their sin of idolatry is the worst sin of all. After everything that God did for them, they still chose to prostitute themselves against the gods of the nations around them even if they know that these are just man-made statues that could not see and hear.
When we are experiencing prosperity, it is easier to forget the commands of God. We think that we can do anything that we want because we are the masters of our lives. The instructions of God’s Word become irrelevant in our lives, and therefore we commit the same mistakes that the Israelites did. Maybe we do not worship a physical idol, but the way we look at money, possessions, relationships, and popularity shows that these things are more important than God.
God promised us a full and abundant life. However, along with His wonderful promises is a stern warning for us to remember Him and His commands lest we may be destroyed like the rebellious people in Bible times.