Clinging to God in the hard times comes naturally to most of us. Even though we may question His ways and doubt His goodness, we realize we need Him, that we cannot navigate our trials alone. In Tuesday’s post, we explored Deuteronomy 8 to discover how God works in the midst of life’s difficulties. But what about the good times? Times when all our needs are met and many of our “wants” too.
Unfortunately, our sinful nature tends to forget about God when the bank account is full, our kids are healthy, and our future looks bright. In those times, we often loosen our grip on God. We feel like we’ve got things under control. We can handle life. We become independent from God and dependent on our stuff.
God warned the Israelites about this very thing. During those forty wilderness years, He met their needs day by day and they learned to depend on Him. But as they stood at the edge of the Promised Land, ready to enter, God counseled them on the dangers of prosperity. He was about to lead them into a land abundant with water, food, and natural resources. God knew that initially they would bless and thank Him for His provision. But over time, as they got use to “having”, their attitude would change.
“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt… 15 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. Deut 8:12-15, 18-19
“Watch out for the good times!” How often do we hear that? Probably not nearly enough. Prosperity and ease produces pride and independence from God. Because we live in a land of plenty, we must purposefully and constantly watch for this independent attitude.
Here are a couple of things we can do to guard against this tendency:
- Intentionally remember God’s past provision and activity. (See Deut 8:16-17.)
- Recognize that your ability to work, your talent to produce, and your intellect all come from God. (See Deut 8:18.)
What about you? Do you tend to forget about God in the good times? How do you work to guard against this?