Awhile back I was doing my regular Bible reading when I came across an interesting passage in Deuteronomy. If you have been around me very long you know about my struggles getting through some passages of the Bible. Like many other people, I have a hard time wading through genealogies and laws. I also find the prophets difficult. Deuteronomy is not my favorite book either. I find it very dry. I try really hard to stay focused on the text, but sometimes my mind wanders. That was not the case when I got to a few verses in Chapter 9. This section of verse 6 may illustrate what I mean.
Understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.
The context of this passage is that God is getting ready to send the Israelites into the Promised Land. But he wants to remind them that they are getting this land not because they are so great, but because the people of the land are bad, and God is good. Think about that the next time you get a promotion or a raise at work. Remember this when you are tempted to think about how great you are. The blessings of God come not because we deserve them, but because he is full of grace and mercy.
This means that we should always be humble. It is tempting these days to believe our own press clippings. We want people to like us. We want to succeed. I don't know about you, but I want to be the best, the smartest, the most beautiful. When I consider how great I want to be, and I couple that with the tendency my world has to encourage my own self-involvement, I find that it is a daily struggle to be humble. And yet, that's what God wants for us. He encourages us to be more concerned about others and their needs than we are about ourselves and what we want (Philippians 2.4)
...not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
But humility is not enough. We must also stay close to God. Common sense tells us that God wants us to know him and love him. The Scriptures confirm that it is God's will for us to grow in faith and commitment to him. And since we are not blessed because we are good, we should seek the blessing of God because of proximity. The Lord Desires fellowship with us. That sort of fellowship is good for us. We should not even consider not staying close to him.
Be humble. Stay close to God. And then, prepare for his blessings in your life and for our church.
Pastor Dewey Miller