Chapter 8


Remember the Lord

        • You must be careful to follow all of the commands that I’m giving you today so you can take possession of, live, and multiply in the land that the Lord promised to your fathers. Remember how the Lord led you all these 40 years in the wilderness, humbling and testing you, so He could know your hearts and see if you would obey His commands.

          • Guzik writes, “God called Israel to a complete obedience. This obedience was to be based on remembering what the LORD had done among them in the wilderness…God humbled Israel. He brought them to a place where all they could do was depend on Him. They had nothing else, and no one else to count on…Some think that God’s work of humbling is accomplished just by bringing us into a humble place. But it is where our heart is while we are in the humble place that God is really concerned about. We may be in a humble place but longing for something different. We may believe that God owes something different to us, and we will soon get it. Instead, God wants us to be content in the humble place He puts us…God tested Israel. It was not because He didn’t know their hearts, but because they didn’t know their hearts. We have to constantly be corrected of our over-estimation of ourselves.”

        • Upon reading this passage it may seem that God did not already know hearts of the Israelites or if they would be obedient. Is this really what is meant by the text? NLT Illustrated Study Bible clarifies, “God already knew the Israelites’ innermost thoughts (Psalms 51:6; 139:1, 4, 23); he wanted their character to come out in their actions. The OT often describes God in human terms, even in ways that appear to limit God. Anthropomorphism (assigning human characteristics to God) and anthropopathism (assigning human feelings or emotions to God) are ways of representing God on a human level so the human mind can grasp his ways, but God is not limited in his knowledge, power, or transcendance. Here, God is figuratively described as having only a human knowledge of the future, but other passages make it clear that God knows everything- past, present, and future (Psalm 139:1-18; Hebrews 4:13).

        • He humbled you by allowing you to go hungry, then provided food for you in a form your ancestors had never seen- manna. He did this so that you would learn that man doesn’t live on bread alone, instead, we live by the word that comes from the Lord’s mouth. For the entire 40 years your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t swell. Remember that the Lord has been disciplining you just as a parent disciplines a child.

          • Guzik notes, “All of God’s education begins here. Some never even make it past this first essential step. If we are not humble and not teachable, there is then no point to the rest of any of God’s education…The next grade of God’s education is total dependence on the LORD. Israel had to rely on God beyond their own knowledge (which you did not know), and beyond their own ability…In the negative, this was the lesson God wanted them to learn. In the positive, they had to learn that man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. Sadly, many still live by bread alone, living only for material things, for what can be bought or sold or earned or possessed materially…This statement is a command; but it is also a simple statement of fact: man shall not live by bread alone. You may exist by material things alone, but you will not live. Anyone thinking they live for bread alone is actually one of the living dead.”

          • HCSB adds, “The assumption that all Israel had to eat for 40 years is unfounded. On special occasions they ate quail (Numbers 11:31-34) and since they were a pastoral people they obviously maintained and consumed sheep, cattle and other domesticated animals.”

        • So, obey the Lord by keeping His commands, walking in His ways, and fearing Him because He is bringing you into a good land with many water sources (streams, springs, pools, and fountains) and plenty of food (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, honey, and olive oil). In this land you will have plenty of food and won’t lack for anything. Iron is as common as rocks and there is plenty of copper for you to mine. When you eat and are satisfied, praise the Lord for the good land that He has given to you.

        • Be sure you don’t forget the Lord and disobey His commands that I am giving you today. When you have plenty of food to eat, live in beautiful houses, have large flocks, lots of gold and silver, and plenty of everything else be very careful that you don’t become proud and forget that the Lord rescued you out of slavery in Egypt, or that He led you through the perilous, dry wilderness full of venomous snakes and scorpions. Don’t forget that He brought water for you out of rock and fed you with manna in order to humble and test you so that, in the end, it would be for your own good and you would be prosperous.

          • Guzik writes, “If Israel would put their focus on every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD, then the LORD would take care of all the material things – and bring them into a materially abundant land…God is not against material things – except when they come between Him and us. God wanted to materially bless a spiritually obedient Israel.”

        • You might say to yourself, “I have achieved all this wealth by my own power and ability.” But, remember that the Lord is the One who gives you the ability to amass this wealth in order to fulfill the covenant that He made with your fathers. If you ever forget this, disobey God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them I testify to you here today that you will die just like the nations the Lord is about to destroy.

            • In this context, “the covenant” that is being referred to is not the one made with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, but instead the covenant concerning the promise of this land that God made with their fathers. NLT Illustrated Study Bible elaborates, “This was not the covenant that God made with the previous generation of Israelites at Sinai but the one he first made with Abraham (Genesis 15:1-21; 17:1-21), then Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5) and Jacob (Genesis 28:1-4, 13-15; 46:1-4).”

          • Guzik writes, “In times of abundance, it is easy to forget the LORD, or to at least no longer seek Him with the urgency we once had...We often think highly of our own hard work and brilliance. Yet we must see that God gives us the body, the brain, and the talent. It is all of God…This reminds us why God has blessed us. His plan is that it would ultimately further His eternal purpose. Therefore, we have no right to use our material blessing to further selfish purposes; instead, we use our resources to advance His kingdom.”