Date: Thu, 29 Dec 1994 09:55:19 -0600 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Deuteronomy 8 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1. Introduction 2. Explanation 3. Questions 1. Introduction ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is an issue of a continuous explanation of the Bible-book Dvarim, that is Deuteronomy. If something is unclear in the explanation, ask me. The Bible-text is taken from the King James version. Deuteronomy 8. Title: Warning against arrogance and forgetting of the benefactions Short contents: Moshe admonished the people to be obedient to God, because He has given them many blessings. He mentions the beauty and the fertility of the land. He warns them for pride and forgetting of God, when it would go well with them, and he threatens them with punishments. 2. Explanation ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. Here, Moshe attracts the people to keep God's commandments. He does this by putting the promised lands before their eyes. Moshe says that the LORD had already sworn this land to the fathers. From this, we see that the nation not inherited the land because of their obedience, but because of God's allegiance to His oath. So, they receive not pay on their obedience, but it is just the other way around. Because they receive the inheritance, they are the more urged to obedience, in thankfulness to God. But this does not mean that the behaviour of the nation was unimportant. It is sure, if they would be disobedient, then they would not inherit the land. This appeared in the desert. Many are knocked down there. Also these people, who lie here to the border of Kenaan, have been stiff-necked. Nevertheless, God promised them the land. This is a prove even more that this reward was in grace. 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. The LORD humbled the nation. Sure, this was necessary. For in prosperity, it is easy to serve God. But to serve God also in adversity, that is difficult. Therefore, the nation needed humility in the desert. Then would become public, how it looked inside their heart. And how looked it there? The story is known. When there was lack of water, then the people grumbled. That was the inside their hart. From this we learn something. It is true that we can say in prosperity that we serve God. But this tells nothing. Beautiful words. It is necessary that we also become humbled by God. For example, when all things are against us. Unemployment, poverty, disease, death. Then will become public what lives in our heart. Begin we to scold? Have we then wrong thoughts about God? Do we think then: "why must this happen to me?" From this is to see what lives in our heart. When somebody wants to have security about his salvation, then it is indispensable that God makes him humble. In this way, also Avraham is tempted. The LORD wanted to know if Avraham would obey Him in all things, even in the offering of his only son. "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Avraham, and said unto him, Avraham: and he said, Behold, here I am," Bereshiet / Genesis 22:1. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. It is the normal way of life that the people are fed through bread of the earth. But now, the LORD wanted to teach them something. He made them go hungry. The normal bread was no longer available. Instead of that, God gave them the manna out the heaven. The people had to learn that God is mighty to keep them in life also through extraordinary means. The LORD can keep a man alive, also without bread. He keeps him alive by all, which proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Also, we need to learn this. We can only learn this when God takes the normal mediums away from us. This is a very powerful means in the life of somebody, to experience the strength of God. This teaches us also that the ordinary food does not feed us naturally. It is needed that God adds His blessing to it. "Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith," Mishlee / Proverbs 15:16,17. But through the rut of the daily life, we forget that God's blessing is necessary. From there it is needed that also we sometimes are humbled by God, and that we are taught in this way. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Here is to see that God can do wonders. For during forty years rambling, the clothes already had to be worn out for often, and their feet swelled. That this not has happened, that shows blatant God's power, without the ordinary means. 5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. The LORD has not humbled them to plague them. He chastened them like a father does with his son. The goal of this education is not to plague, but to teach. The people had to learn that God took care for them, and did them well. 6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. The nation was humbled. The goal was that they would keep the commandments of God. The people had not to serve God in an arrogant way. When then would say: "We can keep serve God with ease", than would it be not well. When they would say this, that would not give evidence of Godsfear. For in fear is not pride, but submission. "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you," Shmueel / Samuel A 12:24. Shmueel / Samuel says the same as Moshe says here. Serve God with the whole heart, in fear, because He has done great things. 7 For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; 9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. Moshe recommends the land very much. There are brooks of water and fountains, much wheat is there, and many fruit trees, iron and brass mines. Moshe recommends this so much so that they will honour God even more, and give gratitude to Him. 10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: This is something, which happens too often. When is goes well with somebody, than he forgets God, his Benefactor. This has also happened to the nation Israel. When it went well with them, they forgot God. This says de prophet Hoshea / Hosea. "For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness," Hoshea / Hosea 2:8,9. Hoshea / Hosea says that the nation forgot God. Therefore, God will come and take away all the good. Also we forget God when it goes prosperously in our life. Therefore, it is more profitable for us that we not get too many riches. What is that, too many riches? That is more than we can bear. 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Here, Moshe mentions the cause of the temptation of the riches. When one has become rich, then he goes to look at himself. He sees how much he has, more than the others. Then, he starts finding himself better then the rest. From this originates the pride. Therefore Moshe warns and says that our "heart then" not "be lifted up". When there is pride, the fall is very near. "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility," Mishlee / Proverbs 18:12. Moshe wants to check the future pride of the people by pointing out their descent. They were only slaves. They have not saved themselves, but the LORD did it. When they then have become rich later, than they have to look back. They were only slaves. They have not earned these riches by themselves, but they have got if of the LORD. When one sees his riches in this way, then he will not become proud. 15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Moshe shows here, how great God's benefaction was. They are lead through a terrible desert, with many poisonous serpents, and no water. Nevertheless, they are not decayed because God protected them. 16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; Here again is the manna mentioned, the bread from heaven. God gave this to them in a supernatural way. When they were kept in an ordinary way, they should not have seen God's power so much. They would have eaten up the ordinary bread in a careless way. But it had not to be so. Therefore, they were humbled. So that they saw their want. When the LORD helped them then, then they should be grateful all the more. Moshe also mentions that the LORD proved them. By that temptation, they came in great need, and called to God. The LORD proved them "to do them good at their latter end". Here we see, that the abundance of goods rocks a man to sleep. But lack of goods awakes the man, and makes him calling to God. This lack of all kinds of goods is not so pleasant for us, but very advantageous. "But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men, "Eecha / Lamentations 3:32,33. 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. Here again it concerns pride. This is the cause. That someone says in his heart that he has earned the might in his own strength. Of course, the most Israelites will confess with their mouth that God has blessed them. For man has to seem religious in the eyes of the people, they think. But in their heart, they think quietly something different. Later, the people acted in this way. "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness," Jchezkeel / Ezekiel 33:31. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. This is the best medicine against pride. Thinking that not we have given ourselves strength, but that God it is, Who gives all. Then there comes no arrogance, but the pride will be exterminated. Who considers that all the good come from God will sooner show thankfulness. What does Moshe say further? Why gives God the good? Is it because the nation behaved them so praiseworthily? No, not therefore. Why then? "That He may establish His covenant which He sware unto your fathers." Also here, Tanach teaches us that God does us well not because of our worth, but that He does us well because of reasons in Himself. Whatever we do, without God's help all collapse. The Psalm teaches this to us. "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep," Thilliem / Psalm 127:1,2. 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. They will surely perish. For the LORD tolerates no other gods besides Him. He will punish that idolaters. This warning of Moshe has not been superfluous, because later the Israelites have forgotten their God. "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves." "Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years," Shoftiem / Judges 3:7,8. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD our God. Moste warns the people with the example of the heathen. They have this example still before their eyes, because it has happened only a short time ago. Moshe wants to put the punishments lively before their eyes. Not to plague them, but for their good. He wants that the people will not sin, because of fright for the punishment. In this way, also Iov / Job, that pious and righteous man, did not dare to sin. "For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure," Iov / Job 31:23. 3. Questions ------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you want to gain more benefit from the explanation, you could consider to answer the questions and do the tasks. You can send these to the editor. He will look at it, and return them to you with his comments. Questions. 1 Read verse one, and think back to the journey of the people Israel through the desert. Has the nation come in Kenaan because of their obedience, or because of another reason? 2 Read verse two. By humbling becomes public what lives in the heart. a. How is the nation humbled? b. How can somebody in the present time be humbled? 3 Read verse three. Has bread feeding power in it, or is more needed? 4 In which way will riches lead us away from God? 5 Why does a man sometimes get adversity from God? Tasks. 1 Read verse four. Seek text, which read the same in Nchemjah / Nehemiah 9. 2 In Bemidbar / Numbers 21:9 is a matter of a serpent of brass. In Mlachiem B / 2 Kings 18, Chizkiahu destroys the serpent. Why has he done this? 3 Read verse 18, where is written that it is God, Who gives power. Seek the same in Thilliem / Psalm 29, Thilliem / Psalm 68, Thilliem / Psalm 144, Jesjajah 40, Zecharjah / Zechariah 10. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament Editor: Teus Benschop - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication - Translated by a Dutchman Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands .