Saturday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 4:21-40 (NKJV)
21 “Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I would not cross over the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. 22 But I must die in this land, I must not cross over the Jordan; but you shall cross over and possess that good land. 23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
25 “When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the LORD your God to provoke Him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess; you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. 28 And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice 31 (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.
32 “For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live? 34 Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him. 36 Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, 38 driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. 39 Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”
Almost all investment literature warns you that past performance is no guarantee of future results. However, in the case of the Children of Israel past performance WAS a guarantee of future results. They would fail miserably. Moses loved his people and had warned them of what would happen if they turned away from God to idols. He knew how easy it was to sin against God. He was feeling the disappointment of not being allowed into the promised land. He had no one to blame but himself.
Moses knew that the Israelites could be easily swayed from the Truth so he warns them. Tough times would come to bear upon the Israelites if they turned away from God. They would be sent back into bondage. But the most important thing for the Israelites to know was that the Lord would use the tough times to help them realize what they had done. God would use those times to turn their hearts back to Him.
The way God deals with His people has not changed. We often sin and must bear the consequences. We may feel abandoned by God but at those times He is even closer than we think. He is there guiding us through those moments of despair to bring us to the realization of our need for repentance. His Holy Spirit has been given to us to guide us from this life to life eternal. We are thankful that with our God past performance IS a guarantee of future results “for the Lord our God is a merciful God.”