Deuteronomy 8:12–14 (HCSB)
12 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, 13 and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, 14 be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
Again we have this focus on remembering God. Apparently, then, just as it is now, the Israelites needed this hammered home. And not just remembering God, like, “Oh yeah, I remember hearing about Him, He helped us out once,” but remembering God through obedience to His commands. And really, if we are “remembering” God in the sense that is meant here, that means we are recognizing His lordship over all, over His entire creation, and our natural response should be to obey His rules.
There is a list of reminders, of the things God had done for the Israelites, things that they, and we, should always be able to look back upon and remember just who God is. And there is a look forward to what will be if the path is followed, if the commands are followed. And it sort of culminates in Deuteronomy 8:10, with this picture of the Israelites satisfied, full and nourished, and praising God.
And then the warning. In Deuteronomy 8:1 God said, “You must carefully follow every command…” Now in Deuteronomy 8:11 He says, “Be careful that you don’t forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His command…” This is obviously tricky business, and something we are not naturally adept at doing, else the concern about taking so much care would not be needed! The fact is, when we are comfortable we tend to forget God. And, as we are more and more comfortable, we forget more and more about God. He even warns us in Deuteronomy 8:17 that our pride might get the best of us in the midst of our comfort. But we have no reason for it, because everything we may have ever done in our own power was still provided by God, at the minimum due to His gift of our ability to do anything at all! In the end, pride will separate us from God. If we are too busy worshipping ourselves, there’s no room for another god, certainly not the one and only God.
In the end it is interesting that God informs the Israelites that their fate, should they forget Him and His command, will be just like the nations they are about to displace. The Israelites will be the instrument God uses to create the example for themselves of what will come of their own pride.
Lord, thank You for Your provision, for everything You have provided for us. I am sorry for relying on myself too much, and too often, and for my resulting pride. Help me to be humble, and to follow You. Amen.