Tonight, I read Deuteronomy 6, not expecting anything but a detailed account of the Israelites’ finally coming to their promised land, Canaan. But I was so moved by it emotionally. Who knew Deuteronomy could have so much emotion? (If you did, just don’t tell me; feign some ignorance, please. Thanks.)
Deuteronomy 6:10-15 (ESV)
“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you – with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant – and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you – for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God – lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.”
God may take thousands of years to fulfill a promise, but He will fulfill all His promises. And those promises are sweeter for the waiting. Here His people have been wandering through the wilderness for FORTY YEARS after fleeing the oppressive Egyptians. These Israelites have been promised a land flowing with milk and honey, but for forty years, they have had nothing to eat but manna. Now, He tells them that He will give them entire cities that they did not build, and houses that they did not fill with goods, and crops that they did not plant. When they arrive to their promised land, they will not be starting from ground zero; they will have it all prepared for them already! What a wonderful gift!
God is faithful and takes care of His people. He gives spectacular gifts, and all for nothing. We have no price to pay. He gives His gifts to His people simply because He loves us and we are His children and His treasured creation. Just like a parent to their child, God absolutely loves to give His children gifts. He wants the best for us, but like children, we do not always know what is best for us. So when we do not get our way, we are quick to blame God for neglecting His duty to take care of us. But, no, He is always looking after us and taking care of us. Like a good parent (He is the perfect parent that no other parent can dream of becoming), He also knows that to shelter us from pain and loss is not helpful. A parent must let go of their child to some degree (and more and more over time) and let that child learn on his or her own. God lets us make mistakes, but He is always there to care of us.
He gives His people gifts that they did not have to make or build or conquer or gain on their own. He gives His gifts freely.
One of those gifts was His own son, Jesus. He gave Jesus to us, and even though we beat Him and mocked Him and crucified Him, He still died on the cross for our sins and gave us His own righteousness, so that we might live in perfect communion with God forever and ever, starting the moment we take the plunge and agree to follow and love God through the ups and downs and crazy ride of life.
May we always be thankful for God’s gifts, always realize the great amount that He loves us, and always want to love Him back.
P.S. As for the part about fearing God because He is a jealous God, well of COURSE He’s a jealous God! He not only loves us as a father, but also as a husband. If a man’s wife starts loving other men or things more than she loves him, he’s gonna get jealous (unless perhaps he doesn’t love her to begin with). But God definitely loves us, more than any human being can love another human being. So when His people, His children, His church, His bride start wandering off to follow other gods or idols, of course He’s gonna get jealous. And that’s that.
Read from the beginning: https://soarwithlaughter.com/2014/09/02/soar-cloud-high/