Scripture: And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV
Observation: As Moses elaborates on entry requirements to the Promised Land, he cautions Israel to carefully obey the whole commandment and “live and multiply” (v.1). Additionally, this generation must “remember the whole way” Yahweh has led them these forty years of testing in the wilderness. Why? To discipline them and reveal their commitment to keeping his commandments (above verse). Citing examples of God’s benevolence (daily manna, unfrayed clothing, no swollen feet), Moses turns their attention to what awaits them:
- fertile soil irrigated by brooks and springs,
- an abundance of wheat, barley, figs, pomegranates, olives, honey, and
- valuable minerals (iron and copper).
He adds that they shall eat and be satiated, and, in return, they must “bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you” (v.10 ESV). How so? By keeping Yahweh’s commandments. Otherwise, as they prosper in this fertile land, they will self-aggrandize their accomplishments, forget the Lord their God, and serve the neighboring nations’ lifeless gods (vv.11-19). And if they do, they will perish like the nations they are to devote to destruction (v.20).
Takeaway: Three words: “Remember the whole.” Recall all those moments when we listened, obeyed, and experienced his joy and peace. Reflect on all those times when we ignored God’s commands, did things our way, and felt the weight of consequences. Remember all we have gained are good gifts from our Father of lights, who is unchanging (James 1:17), lest we drift in the selfish ways of the world.
Thus, whether in seasons of plenty or want, peace or turmoil, rest or testing, remember that our gracious Lord is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28), and “remember the whole” of his commandments, for they lead us to abundant life (John 10:10).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son, who obeyed the whole of your law that he might become the atoning sacrifice for all who you have chosen. Would you please help us bless you by remembering and living by the whole of your commands under our Covenant of Grace through the help of your Holy Spirit? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling