Thursday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:1-20 (NKJV)
1 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. 6 Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.
11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end—17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ 18 And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.”
One of the themes of Deuteronomy is the trials of the Israelites throughout the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. God reminds His people how He guided, protected, and provided for them throughout the whole journey. He reminds them that in spite of the fact that they were unfaithful, God was always faithful to His promises, and brought them to the Promised Land. God also wants His chosen people to remember Him after they have come into the Promised Land and are settled. He wants them to listen, hear, and follow His words of promise and not to follow their natural sinful inclinations and desire to worship false gods. He says, “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
In Ephesians 2, St. Paul writes to God’s chosen people in the New Testament much the same message. He says, “And you he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sin…. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
We, too, were enslaved in sin and death, but God came to us in the Word and Baptism, and made us alive. In His Word and the Body and Blood of His Supper He strengthens and sustains us to be His faithful people. He then sends us into the world to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and gave Himself for us….” (Eph 5:2).
Let Thy commandments guide us,
Grant us Thy heav’nly food;
Clothe us in Thy rich garments,
Bought with Thy precious Blood. Amen. (TLH 264:4).