Thoughts are important. Like seeds that fall into the earth, our thoughts produce attitudes which can grow into actions. As you know, multitudes of ideas and words flow in and out of our minds all day long. We decide which words to keep and which ones to kick out. In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Lord is about to bring His children, the Israelites, into the Promised Land. He wants them to have the right thoughts about this, so He gives them two warnings. The first has to do with how we think about the blessing of money and prosperity. As they enter the Promised Land, they will inherit houses, lands, and benefits they never knew during the previous years of desert wanderings. The Lord warned them, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18a). God is challenging them to think biblically (correctly) about their blessings. These verses speak to my heart, reminding me that even my ability to work and to provide for my family comes from the Lord’s hand. He is the source! The second warning from the Lord has to do with how we think about ourselves in light of victories we experience. The Lord warned, “…do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness’” (Deuteronomy 9:4b). We may not say such proud things (about how “good” we are) outwardly to others, but, if we’re honest, we sometimes let these thoughts lodge in our hearts. The truth is that God doesn’t bless us with victory because of how great or good we are. From Deuteronomy we discover that God blessed the Israelites in part because the inhabitants of the land were being disciplined for their wickedness. Israel was in line to receive the spoils. Thanksgiving is a great reminder for us to humble ourselves. Let us acknowledge we serve a good and kind God who gives us what we don’t deserve and does not give us what we really deserve! So, inside your heart…what are you talking about?
Pastor Mark Boucher