In Deuteronomy 8, the Lord describes to the Israelites, His chosen people, how He is about to pour out blessings on them in the Promised Land:
“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10 ESV)
Then He immediately warns them:
“Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His rules and His statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ (Deuteronomy 8:11-17 ESV)
God says to His people, “This is what’s going to happen, these are all the ways I’m going to bless you… now TAKE CARE. You’ll be tempted to think it was you who brought all this good upon yourself, but it wasn’t.”
Isn’t this true of us as well?
We’re so tempted to think the best of ourselves when something good happens. We want to take all the credit for something good happening in our life, but if something bad happens we don’t want to take any responsibility.
Beware of God’s blessings. These verses tell us they come with the temptation to puff ourselves up, to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, and the horrid tendency to forget God, when the blessings can really only be defined by one word:
This is why in Deuteronomy 8:18, the very next verse, God counsels them:
“You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…”
Any blessing (financial or otherwise) that we may have is not because of us but in spite of us.
Therefore, today, may we actively choose to remember the Lord our God and be on guard for the sick inclination to take credit for all the good things that come our way and to instead view them as gifts of grace, a demonstration of the Lord’s faithfulness, and the act of a holy Father who loves us.