Summary: God wants us to bless (and thank) him AFTER he blesses us. It is easy to be God-conscious when we are in need; it is another thing when we are satisfied.
Who said: “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 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.”? [Abraham Lincoln, 1863]
We do not learn well – Example of Israel; American Civil War; STILL ignoring God
Thanksgiving is Over – Are we satisfied? Are we blessing God?
Easy to remember him in times of need
More difficult in prosperity
NOTE – the command to bless God AFTER eating rather than before
In our Post-Thanksgiving Lesson, let’s look at Deuteronomy 8 and key on two important Lessons:
I. The Gift of Need (so we can find God) – 8.1-10
A. A Tested People (2-6)
When airlines train their pilots they first test them in a simulator. The simulator is designed to present the pilot with a variety of potential problems so that they will be able to handle any emergency in the future. First the pilot is tested with simple challenges, which eventually build up to catastrophic situations. The pilots are given more difficult problems only when they have mastered the previous ones. The result is that when the pilots have completed their courses, they are prepared to handle any problem that comes their way.
This is similar to God’s method of working with us. God teaches us how to handle the problems of life, but never gives us more than we can handle. He teaches us through each situation, so that we can be fully prepared and mature people, ready to handle any challenge in life that might come our way.
1. 40 Years in Wilderness brought learned lessons
2. Humble Dependence on God
Needed help out of Egypt (cried out)
Need help to survive the desert (brought us here to die)
God is the Key
Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called The Ways to Wealth and in it he said: Do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things, for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven.
3. Areas of Testing:
Hunger -- -Manna (Quail)
NOTE – 8.3 cf. Matthew 4.4 – “THE” Man – veiled reference to Messiah
Water from Rock
Discipline of a loving Father
B. A Blessed People (7-10)
From Poverty to Prosperity
Attitude of Gratitude
Cotton Mather, a preacher in New England, offered this advice to the young Benjamin Franklin as Franklin approached a low-hanging beam in Mather’s parsonage: You are young and have the world before you; stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard bumps.
II. The Curse of Prosperity (We forget God) – 8.11-20
A man with notoriously poor memory left for work one day. Wife: "Don't forget today is the day we move. Don't come here tonight, go to the new house." Man forgot. Wandered through vacant house for a few minutes & it finally dawns on him they've moved--can't remember where. Runs outside, stops little boy on bicycle: "Little boy, can you tell me where this family moved?" Boy: "Aw Dad, Mom said you'd forget!"
A. Forgetting Commands (even the little ones)
1. Basis of well-being/life – words of God
2. Impacts all areas of life
3 Great Institutions of God – Family/Government/Church
We have abdicated from the Government – now it is trying to control the other 2 – Same Sex Marriage; Silence Our Political Involvement
First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Why are we surprised? We have allowed our government to run contrary to the laws of God – we have chosen prosperity (The economy, stupid) over God.
B. Forgetting the Source (11-17)
The 1965 film classic, Shenandoah, features a memorable and outlandish prayer. With his eight children seated for dinner, the father, played by James Stewart observes, “Now, your mother wanted all of you raised as good Christians. And I might not be able to do that thorny job as well as she could, but I can do a little something about your manners.” After a forgetful and now convicted son removes his cap, Stewart then leads them in a thoroughly ungrateful prayer: Lord, we cleared this land; we plowed it, sowed it, and harvested. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t be eatin’ it, if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you just the same anyway Lord for this food we are about to eat. Amen. On DVD Shenandoah Scene #2 Family Supper