god's provision over our wealth (Deuteronomy 8:17-20)

April 18th, 2024

17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

19 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. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

Among the many temptations with which we are often up against, the attraction of money and wealth seem to always prevail no matter who we are. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, humans beings have been cursed with the mandate of toiling and labouring for their own provision in this life. The result of this curse is that mankind has continuously looked to their own wisdom and strength to gain and store wealth. More than that, once we gain it, we seem to never be satisfied with what we have earned, leaving us craving more. The Lord commands His people regarding this affection for money and how we are to properly view it.

In His instructions to Israel, the Lord begins with predicting our inner prideful thoughts. Pay careful attention to the words "my" and "me" in verse 17; "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. I wonder how often our language is filled with these kind of self-exalting statements. We take pride in the work of our own hands, and boast in the power and energy we have exerted to gain our own wealth. Without even a moment of spiritual realization, we suddenly become engulfed in a sea of pride and possessions. The Lord is not so angry at the fact that we have gained material wealth, it is simply that we have forgotten Him in the process. He speaks these words back in verses 13-14, "... and when your herds and flock 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..." (Deuteronomy 8:13-14). The Lord is not assuming this to be the end result, He knows with absolute certainty that when we gain more and more earthly possessions, pride is soon to follow and we are prone to forgetting Him.

This is then why He beckons our attention in verse 18 to remember the Lord your God. We can be assured of this, most often when we feel as though the Lord has forgotten us, it is likely because we have already abandoned Him for something else. In this case, He exposes the true reality within our own hearts. That humans would rather boast in their own abilities to produce wealth than give God the credit. The Bible says clearly that it is the Lord who grants us the power to produce wealth. Therefore, I must step back and reflect upon my own heart. Have I taken credit and assumed my own glory over all that I have earned and gained? Have I boasted in my own business tactics and how smart I have been with my money? Perhaps we have forgotten that it was the Lord who opened those doors upon us? Was it not His mighty hand who protected and provided for our every need? May we not become a people who forgets the provision of the Lord. Rather, we ought to recall to our remembrance every moment He has strengthened our bodies and minds to work and earn what we have today. When we forget the Lord, we forsake all of His kindness and goodness toward us and rob Him of His glory.

A Christian who is often forgetful of the Lord's provision is one who is already sliding down a slippery slope toward destruction. Think carefully through the words of verses 19 and 20. When the Lord is forgotten, we are the most susceptible to replacing Him with other idols and destruction is the result. This is the deepest pit we can fall into, where we begin to worship and adore other created things instead of the Lord our God. Money and wealth are only one example of an idol we can create for ourselves. The Bible tells us that the "love of money is the root of all kinds of evil". Further in that verse, it states that those desperate for money have even "wandered away from the faith" (1 Timothy 6:10). In a sense, the more we are inflated with pride and a lust for wealth, the further we descend away from the Lord. In fact, while our gaze is focused on more money, we will even commit all other kinds of evils just to obtain it. Before we are even capable of slowing down, we have already left a trail of disobedience and destruction.

The gracious caution of our passage is to be ever so reflective upon the posture of our heart in relation to the wealth of this world. Are we storing up our treasures in heaven or are we yearning for more and more earthly wealth (Matthew 6:19)? Have we yielded our earnings and our work into the hands of the Almighty God or are we hoarding it to ourselves? If we are not careful, it is very possible that we will lose out on both: we will lose our wealth and also the Lord, Himself. Here is a helpful saying to memorize: "God is not against us possessing wealth, He is against wealth possessing us". Hear word of the Lord today, do not forget Him in your daily business pursuits. Remember the Lord your God. Remember His faithfulness and provision over your life today.

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