Thousands camped east of the Jordan, ready to cross it, eradicate a decadent culture and establish their own nation. Their remarkable leader Moses, soon to die, stood and spoke to them. He reminded them of their covenant relation to Yahweh their Lord, of Yahweh's mighty acts on their behalf, of the practical differences their loyalty to Yahweh should make. He implored them to be totally devoted to their sovereign God.
The book of Deuteronomy records these speeches. For J. A. Thompson, we cannot fail to be challenged by the persistent demands throughout the book that we should acknowledge the complete and sole sovereignty of God in our lives. Nor can we fail to be touched by the noble concept of God that underlies the whole book.
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“Israel was to remember that it was Yahweh alone who gave her the strength to acquire wealth. Moreover, every blessing she enjoyed was the result of his covenant with her and the outcome of his promise to her forefathers. This lesson for Israel has wide implications for all mankind. Wealth and prosperity can never be regarded as a natural right. They are the gift of God. Since the majority of people in the world lack wealth, those who are wealthy need to beware lest pride in their own achievements possess them and bring about their ruin.” (Page 154)
“The real reason was more profound. Israel was to love God because God first loved her.” (Page 165)
“In our own day the nominalism of the church in our affluent Western world bears loud testimony to the fact that in its prosperity the church has forgotten God.” (Page 141)
“In one of the longest sentences in Hebrew literature Israel is given a stern warning. When men have abundance of food and great possessions (12, 13) they tend to forget the pit whence they were dug and the pathway by which they achieved their prosperity. For Israel there could have been no prosperity had not Yahweh brought them out from the slavery of Egypt and cared for them during the wanderings (14–16). There is always a danger that men’s hearts might become lifted up with pride (14) and, forgetful of the facts of the case, declare, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth (17; Ps. 127:1; Prov. 30:9; Hos. 13:6). Such a claim is an arrogant elevation of self to the status of God.” (Pages 153–154)
“The remembrance of God’s acts of deliverance and of judgment would provide motivation for the future. The recollection of hardships suffered in the wilderness would lead to a humbling of Israel’s spirit. Already during the forty years of wandering God had taught Israel utter dependence on him for water and food. Hunger and thirst could not be satisfied by human aid but only by God. The need for such divine provision in the hour of their extremity could not but humiliate the people. It was, indeed, God’s intention to humble them and to test them in order to discover their real motives, i.e. what was in your heart.” (Page 151)