Thesis: Praising God in prosperity reminds us of our constant dependence on him.
1. Illust. Remember old TV show, "The Jeffersons"? About an upwardly mobile family in NYC. Dry-cleaning business. Had come a long way--"Finally got a piece of the pie." Episode where Geo. Jefferson opened a museum ... to himself! Diff. exhibits: Geo. the father ... Geo. the husband ... Geo. the civic leader. One: "George Jefferson: the Lean Years." Detailed his humble beginnings--from sharecropper's son to successful NY businessman. Problem was that while George's beginnings were humble, he no longer was!
2. In Deut. 8, Moses challenges Israel to remember her "lean years" in the wilderness wanderings (8:1-2).
I. ISRAEL MUST REMEMBER GOD (2).
A. Memory is a precious thing.
1. Illust. Dr. Sachs, a clinical psychologist, in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat, tells of Jimmy G.--a 45 yr. old man who had Korsacoff's Syndrome. KS caused by alcoholism, those who have KS have no short-term memory. Life stopped for Jimmy G. at 19. Dr. Sachs put a mirror in front of Jimmy's face--"Do you see a 19 yr. old man?" Jimmy's face contorted in momentary horror and he jumped up and went to the window--Dr. Sachs felt bad/cruel. He said: "I'm sorry I showed you the mirror." Jimmy G.: "What mirror?" One minute later Jimmy had forgotten! Dr. Sachs described Jimmy G. as "a lost soul."
2. Illust. 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!"
B. Moses urged Israel to never forget her dependence on God (8:2-5).
II. WHEN ARE WE MOST LIKELY TO FORGET OUR DEPENDENCE ON GOD?
A. Not in the wilderness!
1. This is where it's the easiest to remember God.
a. When things are looking grim, we turn to God.
b. Illust. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. However, it was not until 1942 that it became a legal holiday--4th Thursday in November. It is not a coincidence that both of these moves were made when the nation was in darkest days of 2 horrible wars.
2. True on a personal level.
a. ICU waiting rooms; mate is unfaithful ..... you are unfaithful to your mate; children are on drugs.
b. "When you're flat on your back the only way to look is up!"
B. But in the Promised Land--when things are going well (8:10-18).
1. We've all seen this sort of thing happen.
a. Lean years--remember God; Eat & satisfied--forget!
b. Illust. Bro. Burton Coffman in his commentary on Dt. tells of preaching in Houston in WW 2. Said he saw people who had been dirt-poor in the 1930s suddenly become wealthy in defense-related industry. "They forsook religion of every name. They bought 2 cadillacs, and a yacht and went to hell in all directions!"
2. Verse 17 points out a subtle change that takes place when we forget our dependence on God.
a. "You may say to yourself ..."
b. Parable of Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-20).
III. HOW MAY WE KEEP FROM FORGETTING OUR DEPENDENCE ON GOD?
A. Do not deny your wealth.
1. Illust. Dean Buchanan tells overhearing a conversation in a checkout line. One man to another: "Hey, how ya doin'?" "Aw, just barely gittin' by!" "Yeah, I know just what you mean; things sure are bad." Dean B. said he happened to glance down at the shopping basket of the man who was "just barely gittin' by" and saw a good-sized sirloin steak, several dollars of junk
food and a bag of dog food. Get real! 2. We walk around in a dream world, materially speaking.
a. USA with 5% of population has 85% of wealth.
b. Half world's population lives on $300 annually.
c. Cattle in USA get more grain than India + China!
d. More fertilizer on golf courses than India farming!
e. If you own a home--better off than 95% of world.
3. The "just gittin' by" attitude prevents us from remembering our dependence on God.
a. Shouldn't feel guilt for our affluence, but gratitude.
b. Illust. In some parts of Mexico, hot springs & cold springs exist side by side. Mexican women bring clothes; boil in hot, rinse in cold. A tourist watching said to his Mexican guide: "I imagine they think Mother Nature is pretty generous to make such provisions." Guide: "No senor, there is much grumbling because she provides no soap."
B. Praise God with your wealth.