Remembering the Lord Your God (Part 1)
It seems the ancient Israelites needed to be reminded repeatedly that if they followed the commandments of God then they would have many wonderful blessings in life. These blessings did not necessarily come automatically based merely upon the fact that they were believers, but were also the byproduct of simple obedience. Forty years of wandering in the wilderness was ordained by God in order to produce both faith and obedience. The Israelites were a "stiff necked" people-just as we can be today, even as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's break the first 10 verses down.
Deu 8:1 "All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers.
I found several very good commentary sources on this verse. Here are some I thought were especially worthy:
All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do,.... It is repeated over and over again, to impress it on their minds, and to show the importance and necessity of it, how greatly it was expected from them, and how much it was incumbent on them:
that ye may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers; for their temporal life, and the mercies and comforts of it, the multiplication of their offspring, and of their substance, their entrance into the land of Canaan, possession of it, and continuance in it, all depended on their obedience to the commands of God; By John Gill
Here is the new generation, standing on the east bank of the Jordan River. They are ready to cross over into the land with high anticipation and hope. As Moses is preparing them to enter the land, he encourages them to obey God. McGee
Lastly let's look at this excerpt which I found to be an outstanding introduction to Chapter 8:
Remember the Lord's Blessings When Things are Bad
The words of Moses in Deuteronomy 8 impress upon Israel the need to learn a significant lesson from their past: Their experience of God's care in the wilderness period, when they were unable to help themselves, was to teach them humility through the Lord's providential discipline. The memory of that experience should keep them from pride in their own achievements when entering the secure and prosperous land of Canaan.
The Value of the Wilderness Experience
Every difficult situation carries with it the possibility of an equal or greater benefit. Our willingness to learn from our trials will determine whether or not we attain those benefits. George Mathison prayed, "My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorns. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorns. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross; but I never thought of my cross itself as a present glory. Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn, show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow."
This was the attitude Moses wanted for his people. He wanted them to "remember" their wilderness experience. "Remembering" is a common theme throughout Deuteronomy. Thirteen times in this book Moses asks the people to "remember." Usually they are reminded of their deliverance from Egypt, but here the emphasis is on their wilderness journey. Many valuable lessons are to be learned from this experience.
The Preacher's Commentary
Deu 8:2-3 "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (3) "He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.
God led them into the desert where they had no alternative but to trust Him or to murmur against Him. In the desert they could not produce their own food but had to depend on God for food and thus for their very lives. When Moses reminded them that they did not live on bread alone he meant that even their food was decreed by the word of God. They had manna because it came by His command. It was therefore ultimately not bread that kept them alive but His word! “Bread alone,” that is, bread acquired independently of His word, could not keep them alive.
Bible Knowledge Commentary
God wanted them to remember all that He had brought them through, all the testing and all that He taught them.
Psa 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
2Pe 1:12-13 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. (13) I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,
It was God who led them in the wilderness.
Amo 2:10 "It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, And I led you in the wilderness forty years That you might take possession of the land of the Amorite.
Then, just as now it was a matter of pride which was theur greatest stumbling block.
2Ch 32:26 However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.
Isa 2:17 The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
Jas 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
They were being tested to know what was in their hearts.
Pro 17:3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts.
And this from the book of Revelation. This verse comes with a warning: a woman named Jezebel-considered to be a prophetess taught the believers that it was OK to be sexually immoral.
Rev 2:23 'And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
We repeat verse 3:
"He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.
Jesus quoted this verse when the devil tempted him to turn stones into bread (Mat_4:4). Many people think that life is based on satisfying their appetites. If they can earn enough money to dress, eat, and play in high style, they think they are living "the good life." But such things do not satisfy our deepest longings. In the end they leave us empty and dissatisfied. Real life, according to Moses, comes from total commitment to God and living by every word that comes from him. How can we live by his word? (1) Recognize our need for it. (2) Agree that God alone can truly satisfy us. (3) Pray for God's presence, wisdom, and direction as we read. (4) Savor the relationship you have with him through Christ. (5) Practice what he teaches you. The Life Application Study Bible
Concerning the manna that God provided for them, read this from the Psalms:
Psa 78:23-25 Yet He commanded the clouds above And opened the doors of heaven; (24) He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven. (25) Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.
Also remember what Jesus said:
Mat 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"
Deu 8:4 "Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.
This sounds really good doesn't it? The Israelites were learning to depend on God for everything.
The Lord disciplined Israel by making her depend on Him for everything: food, water, and clothes. Since all these were provided by His decree the only logical response was to observe (obey) the commands of the Lord, following and revering Him.
Bible Knowledge Commentary
Deu 8:5 "Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was
disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.
that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee; that they stood in the same relation to God as a son to a father, and therefore happy and honourable; that all their afflictions came from God, were appointed, sent, directed, and overruled by him for his own glory and their good; that these were the chastenings and corrections of a father, and were not done in wrath, but in love, and therefore should be patiently endured; and it became them to consider well from what hand they came, and in what manner, and for what ends and purposes, how they ought to behave under them, and what they should do, as follows. John Gill
2Sa 7:14 "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,
Psa 94:12 Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, And whom You teach out of Your law;
Deu 8:6 "Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.
Again we shall quote John Gill:
Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God,.... Not only because they are the commands of God, and of a covenant God and Father, which are reasons sufficient for the observance of them; but because the Lord had dealt so bountifully with them, in providing food and raiment for them in the wilderness, which always continued with them; and because, when he afflicted them, it was a fatherly chastisement, with great tenderness and compassion, and for their good; all which laid them under obligations to keep the commands of God, whatsoever he had enjoined them, whether of the moral, ceremonial, or judicial kind:
to walk in his ways, and to fear him; to walk in the ways he directed, to be under an awe of his majesty, a fear of offending him, and a reverential affection for him, such as children have to a father. John Gill
1Sa 12:24 "Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for
consider what great things He has done for you.
Psa 128:1 A Song of Ascents. How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways.
Deu 8:7-9 "For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; (8) a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; (9) a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.
This stands as quite a contrast to the life the Israelites had experienced the past 40 years. There would now be plenty of water for their them, their crops and animals. There would be plenty to eat with a variety of choices. They would lack nothing in the good land that the Lord was bringing them to.
Psa 65:9 You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; You greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.
Psa 81:16 "But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."
Jos 22:8 and said to them, "Return to your tents with great riches and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron, and with very many clothes; divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers."
Deu 8:10 "When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.
We will conclude part 1 with verse 10. I find this verse to be interesting as explained by the following two excerpts:
When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God,.... For as the Lord would furnish them with plenty of food, they might eat of it liberally, provided they did not indulge to intemperance, as everyone may whom God has blessed with a fulness of good things; and this shows that we are to return thanks to God for a plentiful meal, as well as to ask a blessing on it:
for the good land which he hath given thee; which supplied them with such plenty, that they enjoyed full meals every day. John Gill
Psa 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
I had never known that verse 8:10 was cited as the reason we say grace for our meals. The following comes from the Life Application Study Bible:
This verse is traditionally cited as the reason we say grace before or after meals. Its purpose, however, was to warn the Israelites not to forget God when their needs and wants were satisfied. Let your table prayers serve as a constant reminder of the Lord's goodness to you and your duty to those who are less fortunate.
Mat 14:19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds,
1Co 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1Th 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;
As we conclude part 1 today I believe we would do well to consider how God has brought us up out of our own bondage to sin, how He has personally brought about humbleness of heart, allowed us to become obedient to His will, and disciplined us where we have fallen short of His perfect will for our lives.
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Posted by Dr. Robert Bannister