March 15; Made In The Shade

Deuteronomy 6-8

God gave the Israelites a stern warning before they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. It went something like this:

“It’s amazing there. Streams and pools of water. Healthy wheat and barley fields. Fig trees, pomegranates, olive trees, honey. Flourishing cities you did not build. Wells you did not dig. You can mine copper out of the hills. And you will lack nothing.”

God goes on to say, “The land is inhabited by my enemies. Don’t worry about that. I will defeat them.”

Sounds pretty good, made in the shade, so to speak. A cushy lifestyle, health and wealth for the taking. Doesn’t sound like much of a warning. But there were two stipulations that went along with the promise:

  1. Destroy the enemy totally. Don’t show mercy. Don’t make treaties with them. Don’t marry them because if you do, they will turn you away from Me.
  2. Be careful not to forget the Lord your God. Don’t get comfortable in your new surroundings and become self-satisfied. Don’t get cocky thinking you deserve it, or created it yourselves.

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirm his convenient, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. (8:18)

Then God’s stern warning:

If you forget… you will be destroyed like the nations around you. (8:19-20)

There are so many parallel lessons here. We could look at the state of our nation, the condition of the Church. But I think God would have us look into our own individual hearts today. What would God say to us about our relationship with Him?

Consider the enemy. Sometimes we “marry” into the enemy by adopting the world. We show mercy to the enemy by worrying about their feelings over their eternal souls. We look and act like them instead of standing apart, and sometimes we invite them into our hearts one compromise at a time. When you look into your heart, do you recognize the signs of the enemy there, even if it’s disguised as tolerance?

Consider our attitudes. Do we truly give God the glory for everything, or do we secretly take satisfaction in believing we are strong, capable, powerful in and of ourselves, like the enemy wants us to believe? Please don’t tell me you’ve fallen for Satan’s “I deserve this” lie. When you look into your heart, what do you  see? Be honest. Is it so full of Jesus that there is no room for anything else – not even yourself?

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (6:4-5)

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.(7:9)

Hold on to that promise. God is true to His word. But don’t ignore His warning. He shows no mercy for the disobedient. And there are no blessings, only destruction for those He considers His enemy:

But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.

You might say, I don’t hate God. But do you love Him with all your heart, soul, and strength? I guess that’s what God has me looking at today for myself. I don’t want to be satisfied with where I am, sit back and think I’ve got it made in the shade. I don’t want to be entertaining the enemy while pushing my Savior aside. I want to give Him the glory with every breath I take, because He alone is worthy. And I’m just not.

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