God gave you the ability
Devotional study from David Niednagel, pastor/teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P method for his morning devotional time. (study, observe, apply, pray)
8:6 “So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. 8 It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. 9 It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15 Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. 19 “But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. 20 Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the Lord your God. NLT
The most dangerous enemies are the ones you don’t see. They could see snakes and scorpions, and giants and weapons. Moses was warning them of a bigger danger – prosperity. God was giving them a land with resources they didn’t prepare – houses, wells, crops – and they would work hard and make them even more productive. And it would be natural after their toil and sweat to feel good about their labor and say “Look what my hand has accomplished!” And they would drift from dependence and gratitude to pride and less worship. Moses reminded them that no one in the world ever had manna before. God did a huge miracle every day for 40 years! Would they remember He was real and worship Him, or would they gradually forget?
And true, they would work hard and improve their farms, etc, but they needed to remember it was Yahweh who not only gave them the land, but the ability to work the land. He gave them life, breath, strength, and everything else. (Acts 17:25) In America many people pride themselves on their hard work and what they have accomplished, and rightfully so. But I have seen children in Africa and India who did not have enough protein when they were little for their brains to develop, and they did not have the opportunity for school. It reminds me that except for the grace of God I/we would be just like them and that every blessing I have, even those that are the result of my hard work, are gifts from God. He gave me/us the ability to work!
Lord, just as in Moses’ day, the more we have the more likely that we will drift from gratitude and allegiance to You. We become less generous, not more generous. We become more demanding of comfort and privilege. Help me always be aware of Your merciful provisions and help me be a good steward of them all. As the world economy suffers, use me to call believers to acknowledge You as the giver of all our resources, and to manage them for Your glory. Amen