It's Your Choice

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Whining was one of Israel’s biggest faults. It didn’t matter what God did for them, they always seemed to find an excuse to complain. As Moses goes over the instructions to the people on the eve of their entrance into Canaan he emphasizes the importance to remember all that the Lord has done (Deuteronomy 11:2-7) along with the importance of passing this information on to their children who had not experienced all these miracles as their parents had (11:18-21). They needed to remember and be grateful.

Nobody azppreciates whiners—not even God. They are like mosquitoes buzzing in our ears and needing to be slapped—something God often did to His people. Moses's instruction to remember all that God had done was a call to the discipline of counting their blessings and thereby putting a halt to the annoying sound of constant complaining.

In Deuteronomy 11 Moses focuses on the land that the Hebrews are about to take possession of. He says, in verse 12: “It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” This statement makes all the weightier the statements that follow. Though God cares for the land he will not bless it unless His people show their love for Him through their obedience to His instructions. “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you will gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle and you will eat and be satisfied” (13-17).

Not only is the blessing on the land evidence of their obedience, but so is their victory over their enemies. “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him—then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. Every place you set your foot will be yours…No man will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go” (11:22-25).

Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, is credited with saying that,  “God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” The Scriptures support that as we have seen in the example from Deuteronomy.

Having heard a lot of whining lately about the lack of money and human resources to carry on ministry, I would conclude that perhaps the whiners should consider whether or not they are doing God’s work in God’s way. Whether that complaining be on the corporate level or on a personal level, it pays to take a hard look at ourselves to see if there might be a parallel between these instructions given by Moses and our present reality.

Moses tells his audience: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following after other gods, which you have not known” (11:26-28). The choice between blessing and cursing was theirs, and ours, to make.

Isn’t it odd that we so often complain to God about our lack when our poor choices were the cause of the problem from the beginning? God loves His “land” and wants to bless it. That is the delight of His heart. But whether or not He will do that depends on our choices.

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