Remember every road that YHWH led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don't live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from YHWH's mouth. Your clothes didn't wear out and your feet didn't blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that YHWH disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.
So it's paramount that you keep the commandments of YHWH, your God, walk down the roads he shows you and reverently respect him. YHWH is about to bring you into a good land, a land with brooks and rivers, springs and lakes, streams out of the hills and through the valleys. It's a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey. It's land where you'll never go hungry—always food on the table and a roof over your head. It's a land where you'll get iron out of rocks and mine copper from the hills.
After a meal, satisfied, bless YHWH, your God, for the good land he has given you.
Make sure you don't forget YHWH, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today. Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don't become so full of yourself and your things that you forget YHWH, your God,
the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery;
the God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness, those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions;
the God who gave you water gushing from hard rock;
the God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.
If you start thinking to yourselves, "I did all this. And all by myself. I'm rich. It's all mine!"—well, think again. Remember that YHWH, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth ....
Thursday, April 08, 2010
A Reason for Suffering
From Deuteronomy 8 (The Message, modified):