Book of Deuteronomy Chapter Eight Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
Keep The Commandments
Verse 1: "All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers." Most would agree that following the commands of God is important, but then we ask, what are they? We saw His commands in Deuteronomy 5, and encountered the problem in Romans 7 that even the best among us fail to keep God's Law. Then we saw in Romans 8:1 that "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." We ask again, what are God's commands?" and the answer, the sum of all law is found in 1 John 3:23—"This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another." When we trust in the Lord, He and His love enter into us, we are increasingly drawn to love God, serve Him, and love one another—with caring hearts that find the joy of the Lord.
Verses 2-5: "You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.4Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5 Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son." As Moses' words continue to God's people, we are to remember our lives and to note those times when things went well for us, or badly for that matter, understanding that He is the final Author of all that happens. He has restricted certain "blessings" from us, allowing a "hunger" within as a form of testing, just like He did for ancient Israel. Will we continue to love Him and love others? We have been humbled in a manner that has revealed our hearts—Do we "believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and (therefore) love one another" (1 John 3:23)—or not? And just like the Lord fed Israel with food that obviously came from God, do you see that the blessings, the benefits in your body and life have come from Him? We grow fond of certain furniture, clothing, or a car, and then—it wears out! But it doesn't always happen that way... and as we look back on our lives, we will find blessings we didn't recognize in the past. It's time to TRUST in Him who is disciplining us as beloved sons.
Verse 6 teaches us: "Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him." The Commandments include the words, "Honor your father" (Deuteronomy 5:16), and through faith in the Lord, God is our Father. We honor Him by placing our faith in the Lord, learning of Him and walking in His ways; respecting the holiness of our God. Do you love the Lord? If so, surprising blessings will be yours, and if they seem different, perhaps less than expected in this life, unanticipated blessings will come to you in abundance in the next.
Verses 7-10: "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you." People everywhere will sacrifice something in the present in order to earn a future reward. You might invest your money, hoping for more tomorrow. You may give up your time today in some kind of work, not only for a paycheck right now, but also for retirement in the future. Look at your life and be drawn to trust in the Lord. He has in mind a retirement program that is infinitely better than anything this world can offer. It's clear in places like Revelation 21:4 about the future for His faithful ones—"He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." Ancient Israel was promised a land on this earth. Through faith in the Lord, whether of Israel or not, you are promised... everything... a place, an eternal joy beyond your wildest dreams! You will meet Him who has saved you from sin and death.
Verses 11-14: "Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 15 He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint." Pride is like a drug that kills the one who is proud. The Holy Spirit, through John the Apostle, warned us in 1 John 2:15-17, about the "lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life," representing misplaced affection. He continued, "The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever." This world and everything you have worked so hard for, will not last... He has a bigger picture, a better ending for the faithful, which include blessings—for all eternity.
We often do not recognize and are not thankful for that which is good for us. Verses 16-18 state: "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. 17 Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." Many of Israel, in their pride, were not pleased with the "manna" ("What is it?"), which we first saw in Exodus 16. Initially, it delighted the people, but then gathering it became a chore, and it occurred to many that it is a humbling experience to receive something they did not earn. The same is true with salvation. We did not earn it and many reject it because we cannot be boastful about it. He has made a covenant with humanity through Christ and all of us are being tested by it. The free gift is yours, but will you accept it, even if it means humbling yourself in the sight of the Lord? James 4:10 gives us a glimpse of the blessed process ordained for you and me: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." To be "humble" is to see who you really are, recognize your need of the Lord, and then give yourself to Him. We need Him who longs to give all good things to ordinary people like us. And if you don't think all of us are ordinary, then it's your pride that is hampering you from finding the good things of God.
God has a plan for your life, a purpose for your existence. Verses 19-20: "It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God." Just like a train can be derailed, but then be set back on the tracks and continue to its destination, you can go off track, too, and it has probably happened already. God is busy mending the tracks ahead of you and He will lift you back on course; but a time you would delight in has perished from your life "because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God." Are you listening? If so, it's time to follow His commandment and TRUST in the Lord who died for you and me.
Father, thank You that even though I have gone off track more than once, You still love me and will bring me through. I am sorry, Lord, for my sin. Please forgive me and heal me. Return me to Your will and lead me to everlasting life. I am Yours. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.