Giants in the Land: Lulled to Sleep

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you…. 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….
Deuteronomy 8:10, 12
Sometimes I think that God needs a good publicist. There is so much that should be attributed to God that isn’t. Our text tells us that we get proud in our hearts and tend to attribute the things we should be thankful about to ourselves. Later in the passage, the writer puts words in our mouth: “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” (Deut. 8:17) If you speak those words aloud, you will find that they fit more easily into your mouth than you would like to believe. It is easy to begin to believe it and forget God.
The prescription to this amnesia is laid out for us in verse 10. When we have eaten and are satisfied, we should praise the LORD our God. This takes discipline. Once the tryptophan starts to kick in, all we want to do is lean back, watch some football, and take a well-deserved nap. Instead, the text tells us, we should praise God for the good that he has given us.
Thanksgiving reconnects us to God. It is God’s publicist forcing us to reconsider, to correctly attribute, and to discover God in our blessings. As we listen, we find that our hearts are moved to worship. Our blessings take on the greater meaning of being the proof of God’s provision, God’s concern, and God’s connection to us. When that happens, we find ourselves thanking God all over again.
Jesus, thank you that I am more than me. Thank you that the blessings in my life have your fingerprints on them and not just the residue of my effort. Thank you for the ways you have upheld me even in the storm, sustained me even when I was wobbly, and gave second wind even when I had given up hope. Thank you for the testimony of my present blessings. Through them I am reminded that I will forever be in your hands. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Keenan Barber