When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws. — Deuteronomy 8:10-11
There’s an old saying: “I’ve been poor, and I’ve been rich. Rich is better.” Those who have experienced both poverty and plenty would probably agree, and those who have only experienced poverty certainly believe that plenty is much more appealing. But there are perils in plenty. This was fully understood by the writer of Proverbs, who said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name” (Proverbs 30:8-9). What a remarkably mature and rare attitude!
The Lord told Moses to warn the children of Israel about the unique perils they were facing as they prepared to enter a land filled with promise and plenty. In their wilderness journeys, they had been severely tested by the Lord in order to “teach [them] that people need more than bread for their life; real life comes by feeding on every word of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
“Feeding on every word of the Lord” means, among other things, trusting His promises and obeying His commands. Because of the people’s extremity in the barren wilderness, they had no alternative but to trust the Lord. He alone provided food for them, and they had been forced into obedience because of the strict discipline imposed upon them on their journey. But once they entered the Promised Land, life would be different.
Moses told them, “It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking” (8:9). So they were told, “When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you” (8:10). They were also warned, “That is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws” (8:11).
After the years of poverty through which they had learned obedience and dependence, the people were now being introduced to plenty for which they were to respond in praise and thanksgiving. But sometimes plenty provokes pride rather than praise. The people of Israel were forewarned against thinking that it was their “own strength and energy that made [them] wealthy,” because the Lord gives “power to become rich” (8:17-18).
The more successful people become, the more self-sufficient they tend to be. The wiser people become, the more thankful they are to the Lord who gave them success.
For further study: Deuteronomy 8:1-20
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.