Exegesis, Takeaways, and Thrusts
Main point summary
Seriously obey the Father, remembering His works for our humility and knowing His character for our holiness, all because our obedience results in our satisfaction.
“ The whole commandment that I command you today
v you shall be careful to do ,
that you may live
and go in
and possess the land
that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.
And you shall remember the whole way
that the Lord your God has led you w these forty years in the wilderness,
that he might humble you ,
x testing you
y to know what was in your heart,
z whether you would keep his commandments
And he humbled you
and a let you hunger
and b fed you with manna,
which you did not know,
nor did your fathers know,
that he might make you know
that c man does not live
by bread alone ,
but man lives
by every word 1 that comes from the mouth of the Lord .
d Your clothing did not wear out on you
and your foot did not swell these forty years.
Know then in your heart that,
e as a man disciplines his son,
the Lord your God disciplines you.
So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God
by walking in his ways
and by fearing him.
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land ,
f a land of brooks of water ,
of fountains and springs ,
flowing out in the valleys and hills,
a land of wheat and barley,
g of vines and fig trees and pomegranates,
a land of olive trees and honey,
a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity,
in which you will lack nothing ,
a land whose stones are iron,
and out of whose hills you can dig copper .
And you shall eat
and be full ,
and you shall bless the Lord your God
for the good land he has given you.
God humbles us through testing us-- opening windows for us to see what is really in our hearts.
Your satisfaction in what the Lord provides blesses Him. The result of us feasting on His promises and not the world's promises is glory and blessing to our God.
Obedience to the law of God is what results in obtaining the blessings outlined later in this passage.
The purpose of humiliation, hunger, and trust is toward the end that we know that we live and continue not with the fuel of the world but with the fuel of God-- His Words.
Do the commandment to live and inherit what God has, while remembering that God humbl how God led you to humble you, and He humbled you so that you would know that substance is found in the things of God.
The Lord sustained what was inside, what was outside, and what moved forward.
Do the commandments of God while remembering His works for our humility and His character for our holiness.
This is "walking in His ways." The road of God is one paved with humility. When Christ came He proved and modeled. The power of God manifested Himself as the servant of all. We are to model His example. However, we do not. Therefore, God walks us through trials and tests. Why? So that we would know that life comes not from the provision of the world, but through the provision of God.
This is "fearing Him." Know that our Father chastises His children. Therefore, enter tests with humility. God will do what is necessary to save our life-- which might mean bringing it close to an end-- something He certainly has the power to do. For, it is not in the substance of the world that we continue, but in the substance of God that comes from His mouth.
Exegesis, Takeaways, and Thrusts
Reading Open your Bibles with me to the book of Deuteronomy chapter 8, verses 1 - 10. Exegesis Now, before I get to the point and thrust of this passage, it will first be helpful to walk through it. So, first we have a command to be obedient, and that obedience is supposed to happen in two ways: 1. through our remembering something, and 2. through our knowing something. The Two Mindsets of Obedience What do we remember? Well, we are to remember the works of God purposed for our humility. Verse 2, we remember "the whole way" that our Lord led us the past 40 years. Now, obviously we weren't alive then, but the principle is still applicable. We can see God's faithfulness to Israel in Scripture, and we can look back in our own lives and see His unending faithfulness. Now, the purpose of His leading through the wilderness was our humility. Why did He want to humble His children? Well, verse 3 tells us that the purpose of His children's humiliation was that that know "that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. So, our Father really wants us to know that He is the giver of life, not the world. The means by which our life continues, the means by which our life is sustained is of God, not the world. So, the first manner or mindset that our obedience holds to is remembering that following God means humility, but humility is our teacher, reminding us that all growth, all life, all perseverance comes from the words of God, not the means that the world offers. The second mindset that our obedience holds to is found in verse 5, namely, "knowing" that the Lord disciplines us the same way a man disciplines his son. And we are to believe this because our God is ultimately FOR us, which is why verse 4 is inserted right before it. The Lord sustained what was inside, what was outside, and what moved forward. The Lord is FOR His people. Because we know that God is FOR us, we are to know in our heart that our relationship with the Father will be like one in which a man disciplines his son. He might be harsh, but it is ultimately for the good and for the well being of his son. This is the second mindset our obedience holds to: knowing the Father's character and motivations for our holiness. The Hinge When we come to verse 6, Moses summarizes what we had formerly read by saying that we are to keep the commands of the Lord by doing two things: 1. walking in His ways, and 2. fearing Him. These are the means to our obedience, and they are summarized statements of what Moses has just written. We remember the works of God purposed for our humility. And humility to make us know that life continues by the words of God, not by bread. For life on Earth is temporary but life in Him is Everlasting. We have food that lasts. This is what it means to walk in His ways-- remembering that the purpose of humility is knowledge of God as the Giver of life, not the world (for we forget this). And we know that God is disciplining us as sons, not as slaves. He is for us. And we know this because God has proven to be on our SIDE. This is what it means to "fear God." It involves knowing Him as a loving, disciplining Father. On one hand we have complete confidence and joy that God will do whatever it takes to make us holy, as His Son. On the other hand, we have complete confidence and fear that God will do whatever it takes to make us holy, as His Son. There is not a more encouraging and frightening fact. The Father will do whatever it takes to sanctify His children. This is the way in which we are to obey the commands of God. Walking humbly with a loving and correcting Father, into His land that flows with life everlasting. This is the land that the paths of God promise to take us to in verses 7-9. The Ground Then, in verse 10, walking in them brings glory to our Father in Heaven, for it shows His promises to be true, and it shows them to be satisfying. The ground of our obedience to the commands of God is the promise that His work for us will satisfy us completely. We are encouraged to obey God because of the rewards He offers, not discouraged. We are not to shy away or be embarrassed by eagerly pursuing the reward of the Father. Summary Seriously obey the Father, remembering His works for our humility and knowing His character for our holiness, all because our obedience results in our satisfaction. Takeaways Now, I want to get to my point. If I'm honest, I was only originally drawn to this passage because of Jesus' quoting of verse 3 when being tempted by the Devil in the wilderness. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord," is something I quote frequently when talking about the importance of Scripture. However, my "favorite verse" in this passage is not the main point. It can only be understood in connection to the verses around it. In this verse remembering the life that the Word of God gives is one of our means to obedience. The Word of God is a means of obeying Him. It is even summarized by Moses as "walking in His ways." And then in verse 1 we see that our obedience to God is purposed towards not just surviving but thriving. Bread helps us survive , but the Word will lead us to thrive . The Word is key to our continuing. The Word is means by which the Father will help us remember His faithfulness through the wilderness. The Word is the means by which the Father will correct us. The Word is what will show us the contents of our hearts. The Word is what will show us the all sustaining promises of God. And the Word is ultimately what will show us the heart and the face of God Himself. So, seek the Father in His Word, by which we have life. The Word is pointed towards obedience , and obedience has a grand purpose and a grand motivation: which is abundant life. Conclusion So, when we read Scripture, we must not make it about reading a book. We must not make it about doing what we are supposed to do. We must make it about obedience . Why? Because obedience is about life . Interpretation is not the purpose of the Bible, obedience is-- and the life giving land that is found therein. We are not to leave the life giving sustenance of the Word until we have received from it the power unto life. Don't walk away from the stream until you've drank. Don't leave the table until you've eaten. Don't leave the school unless you've learned. Don't leave the funeral unless you've mourned. Don't leave the party unless you've rejoiced. For, our satisfaction in God's Word results in His glory. When the customers savor the food the chef gets the glory. When new homeowners rejoice in a beautiful home, the homemakers get the glory. When listeners or spectators marvel at a work of art, the artist gets the glory. When readers delight in a whimsical novel, the author gets the glory. And we, we savor, rejoice, marvel, and delight in a greater Chef, a greater Homemaker, a greater Artist, and a greater Author-- The Author of life Himself. He is our prize, our delight, and our glory. Therefore Read the Bible, but do to obey Him. And what is the summary of the law? Loving the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37). Read the Bible to love God, because it is there that you will meet Him. It is there that you will see His humble ways, His loving character, and the gravity with which He handles our holiness. Begin your Bible reading with intent to meet with the Father, and please don't leave until you've sought the takeaways. Don't leave until you are taking something with you. For then we will be like the man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like. We will be like the teacher who leaves to go to school and hasn't brought their lesson plans. We will be like the carpenter who goes to work without his toolbox. We will be like the golfer who goes to the course without a set of clubs. The Word is meant to prepare , but it is also meant to please . The purpose of the Father is our legitimate and holy pleasure in Him, found in the Word, overflowing into our daily obedience to Him.