Total Commitment

Total Commitment – Deuteronomy 6:10-25

We hear a lot of preaching today about the promise of prosperity. But, as Bible teacher Haddon Robinson wisely put it, “For every verse in the Bible that tells us the benefits of wealth, there are ten that tell us the danger of wealth.” Moses warned the Israelites about the dangers of the prosperity they would have after they settled in Canaan (Deuteronomy 6:10–25). Centuries later, Jesus also warned: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:24). Our passage gives guidelines on how to avoid the pitfalls associated with prosperity.

First, Moses reminds us that all we have is due to God’s grace (Deuteronomy 6:10–12). The Israelites owed their prosperity to God fulfilling a promise he made to their ancestors (v. 10). In fact, Moses repeats “you did not” four times when talking about how they inherited their riches (v. 10–11) to emphasise that their wealth was not of their doing. After all, most city structures and agricultural resources were left intact when they took occupation (see Joshua 11:13; 24:13)—they did nothing to earn them. Moses also exhorted them to “be careful that [they] do not forget the Lord, who delivered” them from slavery (Deuteronomy 6:12). Affluence can intoxicate one so that he forgets the most important factors that brought him to his present state.

Second, we are to develop a God-fearing lifestyle and serve God alone (vv. 13–15). Without total commitment to God, there is little chance of overcoming the many temptations to compromise that affluence brings. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters . . . You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

Third, we are called to have sanctified desires (Deuteronomy 6:16–19). Moses reminds the people of the incident at Massah when they “tested” God by demanding water, rather than letting God provide for them in the way He wished. While they were not wrong to ask for water, they failed to trust in God and quarrelled with Moses (Exodus 17:2). Prosperity can inflame greed, causing desires that can lead people to break God’s principles to get what they want. When Satan tempted Jesus to get instant acclaim by throwing himself down from the temple, He answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (see Luke 4:12).

Fourth, we need to teach our children about our heritage (Deuteronomy 6:20–25). Children who grew up in relative comfort need to be told the history of God’s providence and the biblical principles behind their prosperity so that they would be faithful to trust and obey God. If our children cannot produce valid reasons for the biblical stands they take, they will come to resent those stands and be tempted to compromise. Though prosperous Christians are invariably busy, they cannot afford to neglect talking to their children about the values that govern their family. Of course, the necessity of teaching our children our heritage applies to all Christian parents, rich or poor.

Think Through:

How can you ensure that you remain true to Christian principles as you prosper?

What can you do to help your family members understand the biblical principles governing your family?

Taken from Journey Through Deuteronomy: 60 Biblical Insights by Ajith Fernando.

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