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REMEMBER! DO NOT FORGET!
Israel was left no opportunity to say they did not understand what God was telling them. He repeated it in many different ways and insisted on it in no uncertain terms. Verse 1 emphasizes again that Israel must observe every commandment God gave, that they might live and multiply in possession of their land.
They must remember how the Lord God had led them all through their forty years of trial in the wilderness. That history was designed by God to humble and test His people, to bring out what was in their hearts, to prove whether they were willing to walk in His laws. Today, God has seen fit to leave believers in the world which is a wilderness indeed, with many occasions of trial that serve to humble us. We need this in order to learn well that we do not live merely by the food we eat, but by the Word of God (vs.2-3). In fact, the food God gave Israel was miraculous, that which was unknown before, and not derived from the lands they passed through. They would not understand that the manna was typical of the spiritual food by which believers are sustained in all their history on earth. The manna speaks of the Word of God concerning Christ in His lowly path of humiliation on earth. Israel ought to have learned through their wilderness experience they were totally dependent on the Word of God.
How amazing it was too that their clothing did not wear out in all that time, nor did their feet swell through walking. Such grace shown them, Israel should have realized that, as they disciplined their children, so it was right that the Lord should discipline them.
Insisting that Israel remember to keep God's commandments, Moses gave as an incentive the promise of the Lord to bring them into "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs that flow out of the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey," in which they would have no scarcity, a land producing iron and copper (vs.6-8).
However, when blessed with all this abundance, then Israel ought to be deeply thankful to the Lord, remembering that they were dependent utterly on His great goodness (v.10). The danger would be present of their forgetting the Lord because they were prospering. The possession of material things might become such an object that God's goodness and God's commandments would be forgotten (v.11).
When they found food plentiful in the land, when they built beautiful houses, when their herds and flocks multiplied, their silver and gold and other possessions increased, then their hearts might be lifted up in such self-complacency that they should forget the Lord who had brought them from the hard bondage of Egypt (vs.12-14). Could they forget that God had led them in mercy through the great and terrible wilderness, with its serpents and scorpions, bringing water from the rock for their thirst, feeding them with manna (vs.15-16)?
In spite of this they might (and did) say in their heart, "My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth" (v.17). How harmful to himself is this self-centered pride of man! As Israel later succumbed to it, so in the Church of God today, many have been deceived in this way, and God's Word is in large measure forgotten. Again therefore Moses urges Israel to remember the Lord their God, for it is He only who gives power to anyone to prosper, and He did this to Israel to prove His faithfulness expressed in the covenant He had made with their fathers (v.18).
If Israel would forget the Lord God and follow and serve the idols of the nations, then God's Word would be carried out also in causing Israel to perish. Just as the nations of Canaan would be destroyed before the Lord, so Israel would suffer the same because of their disobedience (vs.19-20).
David and Solomon are object lessons as regards prosperity and its results. In all David's history of suffering he showed a lovely character of depending on the Lord. He needed the Lord and thirsted after the Lord when circumstances were against him. When he became ruler over Israel he did not stand out so beautifully as a man of faith, and failed badly in some instances, taking bad advantage of his prosperous conditions, such as in the case of his sin against Bathsheba and her husband (2 Samuel 11:1-27); yet still the lessons of early years remained to remind him of his need of the Lord. He did sorrowfully confess his sin and returned to the Lord. But Solomon came to the throne of Israel amid wealth and splendor, and it was not long before he married many wives who turned away his heart from the Lord, and go so far away that we never read of him repenting, as David did.
For believers today too there will be disastrous consequences for disobedience and leaving the Lord out of their practical lives, not eternal judgment, but suffering under God's governmental hand on earth.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 8". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26