“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, lest— when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 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; 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; 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 — then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth. ’ “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.“Deuteronomy 8:11-18
Applying this strictly to Israel would be in error for there are lots of commands that God gave Israel that still apply to us today, I can think of ten of them right off the top of my head. Not all that is written to Israel can be applied to us but when the nature and character of God or general life principles are in view then we must recognize that what was written to Israel applies to mankind in general. There is only one God, images are not to be made of Him or His name taken in vain, everyone should honor their father and mother and no one should murder, no one should commit adultery, no one should steal, bear false witness or covet. All these commandments were give to Israel yet they are the very laws that identity all people as sinners, for all have sinned and the standard of measure is the law of God, given to the Jews. Therefore the power to get wealth comes from God for all peoples and the right to give and take away is exclusively His. When He gives, we can be content and when He takes away we can be content. This is not easy but it is helpful to remember it is all His and what you had was on loan from Him.
Allow me to illustrate the point because I realize I am trying to take you somewhere your mind doesn’t want to go and your flesh is going to resist. Think about it like this: If you were going out of town and at your destination you rented a car. Would you expect to keep the car after your trip was over? Of course not and the feeble effort at moving your thinking in the right direction makes the point of understanding ownership. If you recognize that all that we have is from God and is God’s then turning it back in won’t be easy, but at least understandable.
We all know the Lord’s ways are not ours and His decision making processes and determinations are beyond our knowledge or comprehension and we have well established in previous chapters that moving ahead without answers is going to be necessary to Dancing with the Scars no matter what caused them. If He allowed you to lose your home and another kept theirs, if He allowed you to lose your job and another kept theirs, as hard as that is, and it is very hard, we must come to the place where we can say; The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. I must add this before we go any further; Getting you to the place where you you can say that may be the lesson during the trial in the first place. That thing about “You shall have no other God’s before me,” He meant that. I say this because I do not want you to have in your mind that Gods decisions are arbitrary. God is not sitting in heaven thinking: “I wonder what Bob and Nancy would do if I took all their stuff?” God does not operate capriciously, all of His actions are calculated and purposeful, even the ones that are hard for us. I cannot think of a better way to come to grips with the loss of material things and to move forward in your thinking than to recognize that God is good and if He allowed it, there is a purpose.
We all understand the ebb and flow and cyclical nature of the economy and that some seasons of life are better than others. Keeping a loose grip on material things however they come, be it much or little, will keep us from learning discontentment should the Lord allow a season of economic downturn for you and your family.
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.