“Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them” (Deut. 11:16 ESV)
Within the promise of abundance in the promised land there is a warning.
The people of Israel may have been a primarily agricultural society – or were looking to be once they got settled – there – their attention would have been given to the weather and the need for sufficient and timely rainfall for their crops and animals to grow and flourish.
What do we deem necessary to survive in today’s society? Can we recognize the principal demands upon our time, resources, and energy?
The people of Israel are warned not to abandon their faith in the Lord their God, and his provision for them, in favour of the Canaan pagan fertility gods in the wrong belief that they are the source of the provision of what they need to support their lifestyle in this new land.
The warning is that such a move from following the commandments of the Lord their God will incur wrath, or anger, and will result in the subsequent withdrawal of the blessings of rain which will in turn result in the land yielding no fruit and the people perishing.
In our time it seems that we are slow to learn this lesson of faith and keep pursuing other “gods” in our search for what we are convinced are the “necessities” for the life we think we deserve. Has the allegiance to the gods of this world brought anything like the “peace that passes all understanding” that can only come through Jesus, or do we become entangled in the web of diminishing returns?
In right relationship with God, through Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit we have the opportunity to restore, renew, and refocus our priorities and lifestyle “requirements” and thus allow God’s provision and blessing as might be best for us.
“So then, obey the commands that I have given you today; love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart. 14 If you do, he will send rain on your land when it is needed, in the autumn and in the spring, so that there will be grain, wine, and olive oil for you, 15 and grass for your livestock. You will have all the food you want. 16 Do not let yourselves be led away from the Lord to worship and serve other gods. 17 If you do, the Lord will become angry with you. He will hold back the rain, and your ground will become too dry for crops to grow. Then you will soon die there, even though it is a good land that he is giving you. (Deut 13:13-17 GNT)
Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. 2 You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. 3 And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures. (James 4:1-4 GNT)
Unfaithful people! Don’t you know that to be the world’s friend means to be God’s enemy? If you want to be the world’s friend, you make yourself God’s enemy. 5 Don’t think that there is no truth in the scripture that says, “The spirit that God placed in us is filled with fierce desires.] 6 But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7 So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. (James 4: GNT)