Some things America can learn from her economic crisis
By Don Ruhl
The Israelites left Egypt partly because of religious persecution and headed for the Promised land. The journey for the Israelites toward becoming a nation was not easy, but if they followed the Lord, He promised to be with them and to bless them.
Europeans left their continent partly because of religious persecution and headed for what they called the Promised Land. They struggled with starting a new nation, but they learned from the very passages of Scripture that the Lord gave Israel on what is acceptable for a nation and what is not acceptable. When they followed what He said was acceptable, He blessed them mightily and here we are today with a nation that practically every American says is the greatest nation ever on the face of the earth. We enjoy the fruits of their sacrifices and labors. We are having tough times, but even so, most of the world wants to be us.
If Americans should read the Book of Ecclesiastes during good times, they should read the Book of Deuteronomy during hard times. If you cannot read the whole Book this week, read chapters 11 and 8. If you cannot read both chapters, read chapter 8, which is my text for today.
Deuteronomy 8.1–5 America Needs to Know How She Lives
The opening sentence sets the tone for the rest of the chapter. Do what the Lords says. Then Israel could live and multiply and go in and possess the land that the Lord promised to their fathers.
Israel had to remember the Lord, because He led them in the wilderness. During that time He humbled and tested Israel. Why did He do that? He wanted to know what was in their hearts, wanting to know specifically whether they would keep His commandments.
In turn, He also humbled them that they might learn something about themselves. They suffered hunger and ate manna from heaven that they might know man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that the Lord speaks.
The Lord balanced their suffering with blessings. He allowed them to hunger (not starve to death), yet their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet swell from all the walking.
Those times showed the intent of their hearts. Would they obey Him when they did not have endless blessings?
Satan said something, recorded in Job 1, that was not true about Job, but is true about many people, “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’” (Job 1.8–11).
Would Israel obey the Lord, although suffering hunger? Would Israel obey the Lord, when the opposite happened, when the Lord rained food down from heaven? Some people are faithful during one time and not the other. Either way, Israel had to learn that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
What does the Lord have to do to us or allow to happen to us to teach us that America does not live by bread alone? money alone? retirement funds alone?
What do we think is the most important thing in life? What do we believe we have to have and then life will be just right? Financial security? Health insurance? The Scriptures?
Israel also needed to know that the Lord chastised them as a father does his son. Israel might have been tempted to think that the Lord allowed them to suffer because He did not care for them. Does a father love his son during chastisement? Yes, in fact, the father chastises his son because he loves him. Yahweh was the Father of Israel. He showed that love when they needed correction. As it happened to Israel then so it happens to all nations now.
America, we need to know that we live by the bread the Lord gives for the body and the bread He gives for the soul. America, we need to know further that He will do what is necessary to get us to learn those things. If it means making us suffer nationally, He will do it, because He loves us.
Deuteronomy 8.6–10 America Needs to Know How She Acquired Her Good Land
Man, that sounds like Moses pictured our land, not Palestine!
For the reasons stated in verses 1–5, Israel had to keep the Lord’s commandments, walk in the His ways, and fear Him. The Lord had a purpose for everything He asked Israel to do, even if they could not see the reasons for it. Would they do those things to show Him they loved Him, or would they have to know everything?
Then in verses 6–10, they had to obey Him because of a huge blessing. They would have plenty of pure water, plenty of a variety of foods, and plenty of metal. Would they remember who gave them all those things?
When they enjoyed those blessings, then they were to bless the Lord. If they failed to bless Him, He could take those blessings away.
Do nations experience the same reasons for blessings today and do they experience the loss of those blessings for failing to bless the Lord?
We want the Lord to bless us, but He wants us to bless Him also. If we fail to bless Him, why should He bless us? Israel had to know how she acquired her good land. Yahweh God gave Israel their land. Truly, this could be said of all nations and their lands.
Therefore, every nation needs to know the truth of Psalm 24. The truth of the first verse is so powerful the New Testament repeats it. Notice that the psalmist did not speak merely of the Land of Canaan.
The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
The Lord owns everything. Therefore, as Psalm 115 indicates, He can give the earth or portions of it to man. If that be the case, man should remember who gave the gift.
The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s;
But the earth He has given to the children of men.
America, you acquired your good land because the God of Israel gave it to you!
Deuteronomy 8.11–17 America Needs to Know God
With all the blessings stated in verses 6–10, the Lord knew that Israel would be tempted to forget Him. He did not want to be forgotten. He loved them.
Do you want the people whom you love to forget you? Do you want your children to forget you?
Verse 11 revealed how Israel could forget the Lord. It was not only a matter of not having Him in mind, it was a matter of not keeping that which He commanded them.
Verses 12–14 show what would happen when they filled up with material blessings. They would have endless blessings in every area of life. Then those blessings of life would seem to be life itself. They would see the gifts only, not remembering the One who gave the gifts.
Verse 14 said they would lift up their hearts. They would begin to think highly of themselves. They would indeed think of themselves rather than God. They would forget who led them out of Egypt, who led them through the wilderness, who gave them water in a place of no water, even giving them water out of a rock, who gave them unusual bread in an unusual way, that He might humble them and that He might test them, because in the end He wanted to do them good, but then with uplifted hearts, they would not only forget who gave them those blessings, but they would think that by the power and might of their own hands they had gained their wealth.
They would start to see themselves as gods or turn to gods of their own making.
America, beware of those who seek to silence God in public life. They want you to forget who gave you all your good things. If you do forget, what shall happen to you? What happened to Israel?
Deuteronomy 8.18–20 America Needs to Know the Source of the Power to Get Wealth
They needed to know that the Lord God gave them the power to get wealth. He did that so He might establish His covenant that He swore to their fathers. Then Moses let them know that if in any way they forgot the Lord and followed other gods, serving and worshiping them, then they would perish, even as the nations before them perished. It would be Israel’s own fault for not obeying the Lord.
Why would He preserve Israel when He did not preserve the Canaanites? Why would He preserve America, if she does the same things as the Canaanites and the Israelites?
Do you think of the Lord? He thinks of you whether you think of Him or not. He loves you. Therefore, He wants you to know that you do not live by bread alone, but by everything He commands and teaches, that He gave you your good land, that you need to know Him, and that He gives you the power to get wealth. Do you know that Jesus is His Son?
- Deuteronomy 28.25 – For disobedience Israel would flee seven ways from their enemies (sevensinthebible.com)
- Messianic Prophecy Number 31: Deu 1.38; 3.21, 28; 31.3, 7 – Joshua a Type of the Messiah (theoldtestamentandthenewtestament.com)
- Deuteronomy 16.13 – Keep the Feast of Tabernacles seven days (sevensinthebible.com)
- Deuteronomy 28.7 – Obedience to the Lord would cause the enemy to flee seven ways (sevensinthebible.com)
- Sermon: (grantspasschurchofchrist.com)
- Deuteronomy 31.10, 11 – A nation-wide reading of the Law every seven years (sevensinthebible.com)