May 17, 2017, 1:23 PM
How soon we forget the good deeds done to us! Like the throat, according to a local adage, we forget the food we swallowed even in the last forty-eight hours. Just because we have nurtured the habit of taking things for granted, we accord little importance to things that we are blessed with or for favour done to us.
The Children of Israel were on the verge of undertaking a difficult journey that would take them across the wilderness and through enemy territory. It was a journey fraught with all kinds of danger – hostile pagan tribes, marauders and powerful kings – that God would have to save them from. They were to face the pangs of hunger, suffer thirst and endure severe and adverse weather conditions. God was going to protect them from it all.
Knowing the nature of their hearts, the Children of Israel were predictable so God had to underline that when they would take possession of the Promised Land to remember that it was not as a result of their goodness, strength or ability but because of his intervention. God enumerates what they should be mindful of – that they were fed with manna for forty years; that they did not have to sow or reap. All their needs were met as they crossed the desert land. O, they had it good! They did not pay the price for their delivery from slavery, God took them in the palm of his hands throughout the journey and led them to safety.
Their clothes did not wear out during the journey, their shoes neither. Isn’t God wonderful! He ensured that it was ‘plain sailing’ amidst all the hardships that stared them in the face. When they were thirsty, he provided water from a rock. He kept the intense desert heat away by a pillar of cloud by day and the weary cold nights by a pillar of fire. Both pillars of cloud and fire equally kept the enemy at bay; they could not come anywhere near.God screened the Children of Israel from their enemies. “He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert ...” (Deuteronomy 8:15-16)
God wants us to recall his good deeds to us lest we attribute it to our wisdom, intelligence, skill, might, experience or resourcefulness - none of these can take us really far in life - and we know it. All glory should be given to God and to him alone. His goodness is a manifestation of his love for his creation.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:10) Pride must not get in the way either. He admonished them; “Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”(Deuteronomy 8:12)
Children have a tendency to forget what their parents have gone through to get them to where they stand today. Take heed! Like a chick that travels long distance in someone’s hand, we are oblivious of the sweat and tears our parents endured. Husbands are quick to forget the sacrifices their wives have made to keep their union going and vice versa. Failing to look back and basing everything on the now is sheer ungratefulness and thoughtlessness.
It is the Lord God who gives us the ability to produce wealth, so we should never boast: “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” (Deuteronomy 8:17) Always look to your source – our Provider, our Jehovah-Jireh! He has been steadfast; we must therefore recognise his goodness, loving kindness and mercy towards us.