We return to Scripture as we get back into our study of the book of Deuteronomy, looking at chapter 8. Here, Moses gives the Israelites a word of caution.
Scripture and Summary
Moses once again calls back to the experience of the wandering in the wilderness due to their disobedience. In spite of their failure, God cared for his people feeding them, providing water, and miraculously preserving even their clothing. Now, God was preparing to withdraw his miraculous provision. As a parent who has hoped he has prepared his child to step out into the wider world, Moses sets the promise of the land before them, reminding the people that the plenty that they were about to experience was also a gift from the hand of God.
Here, Moses reminds the people of the dangers of having plenty: it can lead to apathy and ingratitude. The danger of success is pride, and arrogance follows quickly. Arrogance was the ultimate sin of the Canaanites, and it was why they were being displaced by Israel. Moses is admonishing them to be careful: don’t allow what is happening to them happen to you.
Pride is a dangerous thing. Success and prosperity often give the illusion of approval when, instead, it should be looked at carefully. God will not allow another to take what is rightfully his and pride often hoists self into the place of God. In verse 17 of chapter 8, the people of God are given a sign that they should be careful to watch out for, the one who says, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth (ESV).”
Everything comes from the hand of God and is entrusted to his creatures as an investment for which a return is expected. In Romans 1, Paul notes that ingratitude is a sign of God’s wrath is being poured out. In the book of Proverbs, this statement stands out,
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (16:19, ESV)
The psalmist notes,
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” (Psalm 10:4, ESV)
The prideful, self-assured person is his own god, and he is worshipped with abandon, just as those Canaanites who would throw their children into the fiery arms of Moloch did. And unless God shows tremendous mercy, the prideful man will meet with the same fate as the Canaanites.