Deuteronomy 8 – 9

Deuteronomy 8 – 9

Deuteronomy 8:3-5 Allowing them to hunger was part of God’s provision for humbling them in the wilderness and then providing the miraculous daily supply of manna (Exod 16:1-30).  The manna pictured more than just nourishing food but the word of God, which nourishes our soul which is the point Jesus made to the devil when he quoted this passage in his temptation in the wilderness to change stones into bread (Matt 4:4). Just as Yeshua was the second Adam, so he is the second Israel. Israel failed to receive God’s humbling in the wilderness, Yeshua did not. He is the perfect Adam and Israel. Yeshua showed and taught us that spiritual food is more important than physical food. More than providing for their physical needs God also saw to it that there clothing did not wear out over the 40 years of their wandering in the wilderness. The wilderness experience was part of his discipleship of His Son.  We too are called to be discipled and the various trials that we experience are similarly used by God to disciple and discipline us. The Lord wanted Israel to understand their trials were from the hand of a Father who loved them. The difference between punishment and discipline have to do with the motive behind them. God disciplines in order to teach and mature his children.

Deuteronomy 8:6-10 Knowing the motivation of the Lord makes it easier for us to obey His commands, that they are for our good and to bless us. The fear of God is not just a call to reverence but also an acknowledgement of His overwhelming power and sovereignty over all of creation. We are also told in Scripture that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10).  God’s blessings flow out of covenant obedience. The blessings flowed from God in the past and will in the future, but they are related to our obedience. Moses describes the Land they were going to inherit as “good land” because of its abundant water, variety of produce, and mineral wealth.  Their response to God’s provision was to give thanks. Gratitude is a key element in our walk with the Lord.  This flows from a humble heart that acknowledges our blessings from God’s gracious hand.

Deuteronomy 8:11-14 Prosperity can become a snare, so Moses warns this new generation to be aware warning them not forget the Lord. Faced with strong and powerful enemies, they would be very conscious of their need for God’s protection and blessing. It was after their victory and the peace that followed, that they would be prone to think their victories and blessings came from their own work or ability. This would lead to a false sense of independence and a pattern of failing to observe his commands, laws and his decrees. Israel needed to develop discipline in worship and spiritual sensitivity informed by knowing God’s Word.  God’s people are always vulnerable to pride and spiritual arrogance. God’s people are called to know the true nature of ourselves as much as we are to know the Lord.  Our hearts are easily deceived, and we have a spiritual enemy always seeking to attack us. As Paul warns us in the context of the wilderness experience in 1 Cor. 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. Peter also warns us as well clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:5-8

Deuteronomy 8:15-16 Repeated over and over again in this discourse to the next generation is the reminder of God’s provision for them in the wilderness. God protected them from deadly snakes and scorpions and provided water when it appeared there was no water. He gave them a daily provision of nourishment in the manna that fell from heaven, a food that their fathers knew nothing about. Moses reminded them that God led this way so that they would realize their dependence on him. The wilderness wandering was designed to humble and to test them so that through it all they would be strengthened physically and spiritually. He is doing the same for us today.  We may not enjoy the process, but we need to trust that He knows what’s best for us.  As we look back, we can see that those trials served a valuable purpose in our growth and preparation for what was to come in His plan for our future as it did for Israel.  

Deuteronomy 8:17-20 The chief obstacle that this new generation faced were not the enemy they were about to face but the pride in their hearts. They and we are prone to think that our power and strength has produced the wealth and blessings we enjoy. God’s solution to avoid this is to remember the Lord as the source of the ability to produce wealth. Furthermore, prideful independence would lead to idolatry and if that occurred, they would be destroyed. They needed to remember that the nations that they were displacing were being driven out because of their failure to worship their Creator.

Deuteronomy 9:1-3 It is important to keep in mind that chapter divisions are not part of God’s inspired Word.  They are helpful but sometimes they cause us to neglect to see how they flow from the previous chapters. Moses is continuing his warning regarding the new generations thinking as they are about to enter into warfare and victory in the promised land.  This is the fourth time in Deuteronomy that Moses gives the call (Shema Yisrael) Hear, O Israel (4:1, 5:1, 6:4). In the New Covenant Yeshua uses “Truly truly I say to you” used 25 times in John’s Gospel alone, is a call to pay attention to what follows.   twenty-five times in John’s Gospel). In the battle before them Moses tells them that the cities, they are coming against were heavily fortified and their armies were strong and tall. Humanly speaking, they had no chance to defeat these nations.  However, God promised to go before them into battle.  Their victories would not be the result of their military skill or strength but from the Lord their God who would either destroy or subdue them giving the choice to kill them or expel them from the Land.

Deuteronomy 9:4-6 Moses warns them again of the danger of pride that could follow after their miraculous victories. Some would be sure to think that the Lord was giving them this land because of their righteousness as opposed to God’s grace. God removed the protection these nations enjoyed because of their sin, not because of Israel’s righteousness. God was using them to fulfill His promise to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Instead of commending for their spirituality, Moses reminds them that they are a stiff-necked people. This is an allusion to their failure to be yoked to the Lord and that they were obstinate in their ways. This expression occurs 8 times in the Older Covenant referring to the entire nation (v. 13; 10:16; Exod. 32:9; 33:3,5; 34:9; 2 Chr. 30:8). 

Deuteronomy 9:7-9 We are all called to remember and never forget. When we are not in God’s Word and walking in His Spirit we suffer from spiritual amnesia. God wanted Israel to remember their past so that they might learn from it. God does not desire us to continue in grief over our past sin, but he also doesn’t want us to forget.  They help us to remember our rebellious nature. To illustrate how stubborn they were he reminds them of the time when Moses received given to him on Mt. Sinai. When they were given to them Moses had not eaten or drank water for 40 days and nights. In that time Moses was nourished by being in the presence of God which was more satisfying than food (Deut. 8:3).

Deuteronomy 9:10-12 The tablets were a summary of the covenant between God and Israel written by the “finger of God”. But while Moses was in God’s presence Israel had turned away from God. God described Israel to Moses as “your people”. God’s words were a test for Moses: would he be willing intercede for them? Would he stand between his people and God’s judgment for their idolatry?

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