Deuteronomy 8:6-18 hits at the heart of the human condition, but omits a critical factor by name. It seems only reasonable that after God has done all the good things mentioned in this passage for His people, that they would want to serve Him and please Him. Even at the lowest of motivations, we want to be nice to people who do good things for us, so that they would be inclined to continue, not only doing those good things, but even doing better things for us. If you give a homeless dog a tasty meal and a warm place to sleep three nights in a row, you just have found yourself a faithful dog for life. And even a heathen society frowns on the thought of a dog, much less a person, biting the hand that feeds them. So why would Israel do exactly that? And why are many of us no different from Israel? The answer is that the Devil is a very real part of the equation of man’s relationship with God. To omit the Devil is not only unrealistic, but the surest way to remain his victim.
Human psychology is perfectly understood by the Devil. There is no need for Him to appear as the “Roaring Lion”, and literally scare the hell out of nice people, when he can masquerade as an “Angel of Light” and seduce them. At the heart of human existence is the ego. It was on this factor that the Devil played when he manipulated Eve, before sin came into the world. The Devil has perfected the craft with much greater efficiency after man sinned and ceded his God-given authority to Him (Genesis 3:6). The Apostle John clearly indicates the source of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life as coming not from God but from the world, its system and the Devil (1 John 2:16-17). It is our corrupted desire to be independent of anyone else but ourselves, and to think of ourselves as accountable to no one, that is at the root of the warning that God gives His people. The real possibility that we would take even some of the credit for what God has done for us is spelt out in Deuteronomy 8:17. Of course the reality is spelt out in Deuteronomy 8:18. It is God who gives us the ability to make wealth. This He does, not necessarily because of us, but because of His commitment to His covenant.
I frequently invoke the ire of some when I suggest that there are natural aids to spiritual goals. All that we just discussed so far represents a macro mind-set which addresses outcomes. In our day-to-day lives, we operate at the micro level, not the macro level. All we are told in this passage is to remember the Lord your God as we are enjoying the end-game of His goodness. We must therefore rely on passages like Deuteronomy 6:4-9 that provide us with the day-to-day instructions for living at the micro level, in order to achieve the macro result of “remembering” God. The only way to “remember” God – macro, is never to forget Him – micro. We must realize that we are privileged to have 24/7 fellowship with the Creator of the Universe at His invitation. This is a privilege we would treasure, were it not for the Devil doing his work of deception and perversion in our minds. Recognizing the Devil as the enemy of our souls is a major step to daily spiritual victory.
Remember to visit RBC’s Our Daily Bread Devotional today at www.ODB.org