6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 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 ancestors, as it is today. 19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
Material blessing can be a spiritual curse. This goes against everything we learn as Americans. When I was in college… a poster in his dorm… “justification for higher education.”
Granted, poverty can be a curse, too. But Jesus never said, “Blessed are the rich.” He said, “It is more difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” People shocked. Thought that material prosperity must be an indication of God’s favor.
Now, does material prosperity automatically lead to a spiritual curse? No. Absolutely not! But those of us who are wealthy in material terms need to aware of the danger. The problem is that few of us think we are wealthy – but on a global, even a western scale, MANY/MOST of us are.
1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs…” 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
The reason material prosperity can be a curse is that…
- Material prosperity can lead to spiritual pride.
- Spiritual pride is the enemy of grace.
- Grace is the essence of being a disciple of Jesus – recipients.
This was Moses’ warning to the Israelites as they prepared to possess the promised land. He wants them to remember their recipientness.
Did you follow his train of thought: rescue/deliverance, provision, blessing/prosperity, temptation, result in curse.
What did Moses say in view of such a warning? REMEMBER – everything you heave is grace – you are recipients – grace consciousness
In Creekstone’s original vision document, I wrote this:
“We want the radical message of grace to be the central theme that permeates our teaching and influences everything about the church, from worship, to prayer, to life-on-life discipleship, to vocation, to marriage, to parenting, to education, to leadership, to stewardship, to mission, etc. In order to see this vision become reality, we continually must distinguish the gospel from religion. Religion says that if I obey and sacrifice, then I will be accepted and blessed. But the gospel tells me that I am accepted and blessed because of the obedience and sacrifice of Jesus. These are two utterly different things. Since the radical grace of the gospel is counterintuitive to the moralistic, religious mind, we must hear the gospel in depth and believe it in depth over and over again.”
I’m only 47, but I’m starting to have senior moments – forget stuff – forgetting my wallet—all of us have flesh moments – forget the gospel!
- So, remembering our recipientness is what we do on Sundays. The Gospel is not what we have achieved, but received.
- Remembering is what we do in K-Groups, at youth, in women’s Bible studies, men’s groups, etc.
- Remembering is one of the primary purposes of personal prayer.
- Remembering is what we can do when we pray over dinner with our families.
BENEFITS TO REMEMBERING:
Remembering leads to humility
- Do you know thendifference between a Xian and not – grace
- The ground is level at the foot of the cross
- Jerry Bridges, “Humility gives credit where credit is due.” Olympic athletes – medalists giving credit to teammates, coaches, parents…
- This is what the world needs from us – humility, repentace
Remembering leads to peace and contentment, joy and kindness. It enables us to forgive and show compassion.
Remembering leads to worship
- Isaiah 29:13 – “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
- They worshiped their things and it shriveled their hearts – they gave God a nod, but they loved their stuff – worshipped the gifts, not the Giver
- 50,000 storage facilities in world – 40,000 in US; not wrong, telling
- Jesus tells us in Mt. 6 that we will worship EITHER God or money (security/identity) – two options
- This is what our children need from us – true worship, generosity
Remembering leads to generosity
- This is what we need for us – what I need for me.
- Generosity is the anti-dote to materialism and spiritual pride.
- We remember that all we have is a gift – it is all grace – we are much more open handed. We don’t have to live like orphans. We have a generous father.
Did you hear about the man who attempted to pumped $20 of gas in Northampton, MA this week… but only had $1.79… Cashier called police. Rather than arrest the man, the policeman paid for his gas. This is what Jesus has done for us!
Jesus paid the price. Not for our gas, but for our idolatry. Our love of money. Heartless worship. Spiritual pride. He could have judged us with the law and made us pay. After all,
6 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him…. 19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.
But the gospel tells us that Jesus was destroyed in our place. This is what the cross is about. The obedient one became the cursed one. Gal. 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” We are forgiven, justified, adopted to be loved by the Father. When our hearts are gripped by this everything changes.
BUT… this promise is only for those who are willing to receive. If you are ready to be a recipient, confess need/repent and believe this good news!
And once we have believed, let’s continue to remember and to remind each other that we are recipients. And all to the praise of God’s glorious grace in our Savior-King, Jesus.