“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose
you because you were more in number than any of
the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but
because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which
He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you
out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house
of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am command- ing you today, to do them.” Deuteronomy 7:7–11
Monday’s Bible reading is Deuteronomy 7–9. As Moses continues speaking to the Israelites he drives the point home over and over again that God has not blessed them because of anything they have done, but because He chose to set His love on them. He prepares them for entering Canaan by telling them to trust and obey God, and to remember their deliverance and prosperity is from God and not themselves.
In warning he reminds them of their rebellion against God:
“Remember, do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.”
“Again at Taberah and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath. When the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and possess the land which I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God; you neither believed Him nor listened to His voice. You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day I knew you.”
Last week I read a quote from David Wells’ book, God In the Wasteland: “God now rests too inconsequentially upon the church.” Those words pierced my heart. Do they pierce yours? Does God rest too inconsequentially upon you? Moses wanted the Israelites to remember who God is and who they were. You see God rested too inconsequentially upon them.
This is what else Dr. Wells had to say.
“God now rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His Word, if it is preached at all, does not summon enough. His Christ, if he is seen at all, is impoverished, thin, pale, and scarcely capable of inspiring awe, and his riches are entirely searchable. If God is at the center of the worship, one has to wonder why there is so much surrounding the center that is superfluous to true worship—indeed, counterproductive to it. It is God that the church needs most—God in his grace and truth, God in his awesome and holy presence, not a folder full of hot ideas for reviving the church’s flagging programs….
“But the very fact that it is beyond our capacity to solve the problem we are facing points us back to what the church most deeply needs to rediscover: it needs to rediscover what it means to be the church.
“Of course it is the case that only God can change human nature….Only God can resuscitate a lost appetite for his truth….Only God can make known in new measure the sweetness of his grace in the life of the church.
“By this late date, evangelicals should be hungering for a genuine revival of the church, aching to see it once again become a place of seriousness where a vivid other-worldliness is cultivated because the world is understood in deeper and truer ways, where worship is stripped of everything extraneous, where God’s Word is heard afresh, where the desolate and broken can find sanctuary. Why, then, are they not more serious in their efforts to recover the true church? It is because virtually everything within them and around them militates against it.”1
To trust and obey God, the Israelites needed to remember who He is and who they were. We need to heed Moses’ admonition and know our God and look clearly at who we are. Does God rest too inconsequentially upon us?
“Remember, and forget not!”
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1David F. Wells, God In the Wasteland, pp. 225–226.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter