Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy 8

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Deuteronomy 8

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“Beware That You Do Not Forget the Lord Your God” 

Moses reminds Israel of God’s mighty power with which He kept them alive in the wilderness for 40 years, and He warns them not to forget God when they enter the Promised Land and become prosperous, seeming to have everything they need. It is easier to remember God when we see we are in desperate need for His help than when we think we can make it on our own. In a materialistic society, when many have money in the bank and food in their refrigerators and cupboards, they can easily neglect to sincerely pray “give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 Matthew 6:11Give us this day our daily bread.
American King James Version×
). God allowed Israel to hunger in the wilderness to test them and to find out what was in their heart (Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Deuteronomy 8:2-3 [2] And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or no. [3] And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
American King James Version×
, 16). He gave them manna to teach them that man does not live by bread alone. Rather, man lives by carefully observing God’s Word (verse 3). As long as we seek first the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, all our physical needs will be provided for (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×
). When tempted by the devil, who told Him to make bread out of stone to satisfy His hunger, Jesus Christ quoted this very passage of Deuteronomy 8:3 Deuteronomy 8:3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
American King James Version×
, showing that He understood the importance of truly living by God’s Word at all times (Matthew 4:2-4 Matthew 4:2-4 [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. [3] And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version×
). After the devil ceased from tempting Him until another opportune time (see Luke 4:13 Luke 4:13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
American King James Version×
), God’s angels ministered to the hungry Jesus by bringing Him the physical things He had need of (Matthew 4:11 Matthew 4:11Then the devil leaves him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
American King James Version×
).

Continuing on, Moses impresses on the new generation of Israelites how vital it is that they remember their total dependence on God. Moses knows human nature. When people are full with blessings and no longer conscious of need, they are susceptible to concluding not only that they can get along without a Provider, but that they themselves had somehow gained their abundance through their own power and strength (Deuteronomy 8:11-17 Deuteronomy 8:11-17 [11] Beware that you forget not the LORD your God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command you this day: [12] Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelled therein; [13] And when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; [14] Then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; [15] Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought you forth water out of the rock of flint; [16] Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers knew not, that he might humble you, and that he might prove you, to do you good at your latter end; [17] And you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.
American King James Version×
). So Moses admonishes the people, “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (verse 18). Tragically, the ancient Israelites would forget God—and so will their descendants, the nations of the modern-day Israelites.

In the midst of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation remarking that this very thing had happened among the American people. He eloquently stated: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of [God’s] redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness” (April 30, 1863, Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer). If only today’s national leaders would see it the same way.

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