Libertines and unbelievers often hold the life of following the Lord in contempt. Sadly, shockingly, believers sometimes just shrug their shoulders in acquiescence and comfort themselves that all their suffering as a Christian will one day be rewarded. Of course, any suffering we do for the sake of the Lord will certainly be compensated beyond anything that we can imagine, but why do we so seldom remember how privileged we really are? Moses, in the chapters of our reading today, wanted his people to remember their very special honor and riches of having the benevolent Creator and King of the Universe take special interest in them.
Let me cite a couple excerpts from Deut. 4-6 that make the point…
“”See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. “So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? “Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” Deuteronomy 4:5-8, NAS95.
“”Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it? “Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard it, and survived? “Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him. “Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire. “Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them. And He personally brought you from Egypt by His great power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today. “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:32-39, NAS95.
And in the New Covenant, the blessings of being in Christ continue to bless us as His people. Consider the blessings of avoiding sexual sin; how it not only keeps us from STDs but from the emotional damages that always result, the watering down of the one’s marriage bond, pregnancy outside of marriage, and perversions. God’s law on marriage, likewise, creates family stability, happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction. Consider what turning the other cheek does for us: violence tends to beget only revenge and more violence and bearing grudges hurts the one who holds it more than the one against whom it is held. When we use our tongues as God has commanded how many fights, hurt feelings, general evil would be avoided? And moreover, how much blessing is gathered when we use it well!! When we trust in the Lord and avoid worry, how much disease, ulceration, unhappiness do we save ourselves. When children obey their parents in the Lord, are they not better off than those who don’t — more successful, suffering less heartache, and more. How many social and family ties are healed, when we follow God’s teachings on forgiveness and Christian love. And the list goes on and on.
Wake up Christians! We’re already richer than we ever imagined. Teach your children as in the teachings of the Shema in chapter 6 about how rich we are. And let the world sneer, if they wish, they don’t get it; but we must never forget!
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.