Wednesday, November 19, 2014

            As we continue to reflect upon the blessings God has given us, we come to our material blessings.  Scripture teaches us that our wealth is something that’s been given to us by God.  And it also highlights the danger of thinking that it’s something that we’ve earned or acquired by our own abilities.
            In Deuteronomy 8, starting in verse 17, he says: Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.' You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
            In a land like Israel, where there was an abundance of the resources needed by the people, God knew that they would be tempted to take credit for everything they acquired.  They would be tempted to think that they had obtained material possessions by their own strength and effort.
            This is a temptation for us as well, especially in a country like the United States.  We too have an abundance of the resources we need for survival.  We’ve become wealthy and prosperous.  And we often begin to think that we’ve gained this wealth by our own abilities.
            After all, we may say, it’s we who worked hard for a good education.  It’s we who put in long hours at work to earn our pay.  It's we who climbed the corporate ladder.  It’s we who make decisions regarding how we handle our wealth. 
            Because of this, God’s reminder to Israel is something to which we should pay close attention.  He reminded them that it’s he who gave them the power to get wealth.  In other words, without his help, without his power, they wouldn’t have gained ownership of the things they now possessed.
            Again, the same is true for us.  If the Lord didn’t bless us with our talents, if he didn’t bless us with wisdom, if he didn’t bless us with strength and health, we wouldn’t be able to work and to prosper.  We wouldn’t be able to gain wealth.  So, in this way, all that we have is a gift of God.
            And not only is this true.  It’s also God who provides the resources by which we profit.  As we’re reminded in Matthew 5:45, it’s he who makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall.  As we’re reminded in Psalm 147:8-9, it’s God who prepares rain for the earth, makes grass to grow on the hills, and gives to the beasts their food.   As we’re reminded in Genesis 1, it’s he who created the world and everything in it.

            So, as we thank God for his blessings, let us thank him for his provision.  Let us thank him for the material blessings he has provided.  Let us acknowledge that, apart from him, we would have nothing.

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