SOAP Journal – 09 May 2017 (Deuteronomy 9:6)

Know, then, [it is] not because of your righteousness [that] the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people.

Deuteronomy 9:6

Moses goes on, after this verse, to give a recounting of some examples of how the Israelites have been a stubborn people. The thrust of what Moses is saying; the crux of the thing is this: God is giving you good things in spite of how you behave.

It is a necessary lesson. And it is repeated in the New Testament. Paul elaborates on it a bit, though he never quotes this concept or refers back to this verse specifically (Romans 7:18-25).

And it is still true. Sometimes, God blesses me as a reward for good behavior. Blessings most often take the form of greater joy and peace in my heart or more patience with others and I would not trade those for anything. But there are sometimes material blessings that come along in spite of my disobedience. I read, after all, that God sends His sun and His rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). In an agrarian society, sun and rain are the pathway to material blessing; a good harvest. Sometimes, it appears that the intangible blessings come despite disobedience, as in the case of Jonah, who slept through the storm. That is some serious peace.

The takeaway is twofold.

First, God wants to do good to people at all times. He wants to bless us. Sometimes, blessings come in spite of our disobedience. This does not make those times right or absolve me of that disobedience or somehow sanction it. Instead, I need to be mindful that God’s blessing is not always because I have done well. Sometimes it is because He is a generous God.

Second, my obedience prompts further blessing. The Bible tells me that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). If I want to live a life that is as blessed as possible, then I need to be obedient. This will not always be material blessing, though God will meet all my needs. This will more often be intangible blessings like joy and peace and all the things that are so difficult to discipline myself to do and be, but simply come as a byproduct of living in the Spirit.

Father, thank You for Your goodness toward us. We do not deserve it. We cannot deserve it. But You bless us all the same. Please cause Your goodness to lead me to repentance and obedience that I might walk with You and in the intangible blessings that You are ready and willing to give.

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