Deuteronomy 6 & Psalm 89

Deuteronomy 6

    “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

    “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

    “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

    “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised.

    “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’

(Deuteronomy 6 ESV)

Psalm 89

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

    I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
        with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
    For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
        in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
    You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
        I have sworn to David my servant:
    ‘I will establish your offspring forever,
        and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah
    Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
        your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
    For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
        Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
    a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
        and awesome above all who are around him?
    O LORD God of hosts,
        who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
        with your faithfulness all around you?
    You rule the raging of the sea;
        when its waves rise, you still them.
    You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
        you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
    The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours;
        the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
    The north and the south, you have created them;
        Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
    You have a mighty arm;
        strong is your hand, high your right hand.
    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
        steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
    Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
        who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
    who exult in your name all the day
        and in your righteousness are exalted.
    For you are the glory of their strength;
        by your favor our horn is exalted.
    For our shield belongs to the LORD,
        our king to the Holy One of Israel.
    Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said:
        “I have granted help to one who is mighty;
        I have exalted one chosen from the people.
    I have found David, my servant;
        with my holy oil I have anointed him,
    so that my hand shall be established with him;
        my arm also shall strengthen him.
    The enemy shall not outwit him;
        the wicked shall not humble him.
    I will crush his foes before him
        and strike down those who hate him.
    My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
        and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
    I will set his hand on the sea
        and his right hand on the rivers.
    He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
        my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
    And I will make him the firstborn,
        the highest of the kings of the earth.
    My steadfast love I will keep for him forever,
        and my covenant will stand firm for him.
    I will establish his offspring forever
        and his throne as the days of the heavens.
    If his children forsake my law
        and do not walk according to my rules,
    if they violate my statutes
        and do not keep my commandments,
    then I will punish their transgression with the rod
        and their iniquity with stripes,
    but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
        or be false to my faithfulness.
    I will not violate my covenant
        or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
    Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
        I will not lie to David.
    His offspring shall endure forever,
        his throne as long as the sun before me.
    Like the moon it shall be established forever,
        a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah
    But now you have cast off and rejected;
        you are full of wrath against your anointed.
    You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
        you have defiled his crown in the dust.
    You have breached all his walls;
        you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
    All who pass by plunder him;
        he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
    You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
        you have made all his enemies rejoice.
    You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
        and you have not made him stand in battle.
    You have made his splendor to cease
        and cast his throne to the ground.
    You have cut short the days of his youth;
        you have covered him with shame. Selah
    How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
        How long will your wrath burn like fire?
    Remember how short my time is!
        For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
    What man can live and never see death?
        Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
    Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
        which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
    Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked,
        and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations,
    with which your enemies mock, O LORD,
        with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed.
    Blessed be the LORD forever!
                                                                                                                            Amen and Amen.

(Psalm 89 ESV)

Something to Consider

Deuteronomy 6: The subtle snare of peace and prosperity is finding contentment in the gifts and forgetting the Giver. Moses' exhortation serves as a warning of the great temptations that are going to come with the possession of the Promised Land, and it's almost as if he can't seem to stress it enough as he pleads with the people to fear the Lord their God and take every measure to not forget His glory, goodness and sovereign government over the affairs of His people. 

Has peace and prosperity proven to be a spiritual snare in our own lives and experience? Do we focus more time, energy and strength on enjoying our wealth and accumulating more wealth than we do in humble and heartfelt worship of our Lord? What is the primary focus of each day in our life? Is it loving God with all we got and passionately talking about Him with our children and within our circles of influence? 

Moses points out that our God is One and therefore ought to be the single and supreme object of our greatest love. The things He has said to us and about us should capture our hearts and cause us to do everything we do for the glory of His name. We should teach these things to our children and talk about them at every opportunity. And we should have such a hunger and thirst for righteousness that we feast on the Word of God continually. 

Is this our primary focus and our daily experience? Or are we so full on the things of this world that we have a small appetite for the things of God? 

You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. (James 5)

We ought to consider that the moment our hearts are no longer overflowing in gratitude or hoping for heaven is the moment we've gotten too comfortable with life here on earth. May we heed the warning from Moses and take to heart the Word of our Lord lest we fatten ourselves with His gifts and forget Him as the Giver.