The Road To A Good Life

Deuteronomy 8:5-10

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

What got my attention was verse 5:

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.

Verses 6 through 10 goes on to elaborate the reason for this “discipline”.

Anyone who has raised a child can relate to these verse, just as I did.

The Lord is wanting to give the Israelites this land, this good land for a good life.  Like any parent the Lord wants his children to have a happy and fulfilling life.  But the Lord understands that the child must appreciate what is being given to them for it to have any meaning or value.

This is why we discipline our children.  We understand there are rules to life, rules to society, rules of law, rules of man.  There are rules of spiritual being, rules of good, rules of respect.  These are very basic rules that we try to instill in children.

There are rules of hard work and reward.  The harder you work the greater the reward.  The hard work and discipline it takes to achieve those rewards makes the child appreciate the reward and the reward becomes more valuable.

Like any parent the Lord wants the Israelites to have a good life and Moses tells them this is verse 7 through 10.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

The Lord realizes how easily the Israelites have been swayed in the past.  How they turned to false gods and grumbled and complained about their journey to this land God is giving them.

When the work got really hard the Israelites lost their discipline and wished to return to slavery, rather than continue down their tough road to freedom.

Like children they couldn’t see the end, the reward that was waiting for them.  They couldn’t see the rewards to come from their hard work.  All they were interested in was getting it now.  They wanted instant gratification, at least in the sense of Biblical times.

Nowadays instant gratification means instant gratification.

The Israelites turned to false gods because they were told “See your god wants you to work and follow rules to get what you want (need) but our god gives it to you right away.”

And so today, our children and we adults, are told by the false gods and worshippers of the false gods that instant is better.  Why work, learn and improve to achieve when you can have it given to you for a price?

Some of the false gods tell you the price but not the whole price.  And some of the false gods tell you it’s for free.

In life there is no such thing as free, everything has a cost.

Much like the ancient people, our children and ourselves, we are easily swayed by the promise of free.

Why work, why suffer, why pay the price of righteousness when the false gods promise it for free.

So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his way and fearing him.

God tells the Israelites, and us, the price.  It’s plain, it’s simple and this is no fine print. There is no pretense of instant gratification.

Keep the commandments, the basic rules of righteousness, walk in these rules striving for righteousness.

Fear God, not fearing retribution by God as some sort of brutal slave master, but fearing the consequences you will bring upon yourself through unrighteousness.

This is what a parent tries to teach a child.

Hard work, discipline and righteousness will lead us and them.  It will lead you to a land where you lack nothing, nothing that is truly essential in life.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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