Read: Deuteronomy 8-10, Marik 12:28-44
On the eve of Israel’s move to the Promised Land, Moses takes a few moments to set some reminders for his people.
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 forefathers, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)
Israel had a terrible habit of forgetting about God and the covenant they had with Him. In the morning they’d be picking up manna and by the afternoon, they’d be complaining that God brought them out of Egypt only to kill them in the wilderness. Moses knew he’d been leading a stubborn group of people. They only existed because of his intercession on their behalf. After all the trouble he’d gone through, he wanted to be sure they got things right once he was gone.
Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
Deuteronomy 9:6 (NIV)
The Promised Land was not a reward for good behavior. If God were to reward His people according to what they deserved, He’d have to send them back to Egypt. But because of His covenant and Moses’ prayers, Israel would take possession of the land promised to their forefathers.
This possession was not without its trials. God had already let the people know that they would have to fight. And it would be a long fight. The land would only be cleared of its inhabitants as Israel was prepared to occupy it. God would fight for them, but they still had to go into battle. God would make them prosper, but they would still have to do the work.
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to you forefathers.
Deuteronomy 8:1 (NIV)
The promise to possess did not come without conditions. God wanted the obedience of Israel and He wanted their love.
When asked which was the greatest of all the commandments, Jesus replied:
I believe that we, too, need the reminder, like Israel did, that the Lord is our God. And, if the Lord is our God, we should love and obey Him. Twenty-four times, Moses used the words the Lord your God in Deuteronomy 8 through 10. It must have been important. Important enough for Jesus to used the very same words when speaking of the greatest commandment.
If Israel remembered the Lord their God, loved Him, and obeyed Him, all would go well for them. The very same goes for us.
And we know that in all thing God works for the good of those who love him. He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)