How long has it been since you have read chapter 6 of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy? Tucked away in this portion of God’s Word is a principle and a warning that have been echoing through my heart this week.
The principle simply put is this: God often brings blessing to our lives through the labor of those who have gone before us. This is the way Scripture says it:
When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, (Deuteronomy 6:10-11, NIV)
In the Promised Land, God was about to bless his people through the efforts of others. They would dwell in cities and houses others had built. They would enjoy good things others had provided. They would drink from wells others had dug. They would benefit from crops others had planted. As a result of others’ labor, they would “eat and [be] satisfied.”
I see this principle at work in my life in so many ways. Let me offer just two examples. In our family, Beverly and I have been greatly blessed by the sacrifice, example, and faith of each of our parents. Across the years, they built, and provided, and dug, and planted. Our lives are richer, deeper, and stronger because of their labor. And, we are deeply grateful.
In our church, the month of October brings this principle into sharp focus. It was on Thursday night, October 4, 1951, that sixteen people met in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Newton at 3360 Ridge Avenue to consider the possibility of a new church. A week later, October 11, at the home of Dick and Margaret Rader the group had grown to twenty-nine and selected a steering committee. By October 29, seventy-five people met at the Ingleside Community Clubhouse and concluded: “we definitely feel the Lord leading us to establish a church in this community now.” All who call Ingleside home today are blessed by the vision, faith, and sacrifice of our founders and those who followed.
So, what’s the warning? As a result of the blessings, when we “take it all in and settle down, pleased and content” (Message), the Scripture says:
be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deut. 6:12, NIV)
Or, as the Message version puts it: “make sure you don’t forget how you got there – God brought you out of slavery in Egypt.” So, “deeply respect God, your God. Serve and worship him exclusively.”
Learn the principle. Heed the warning! Both are for our good and God’s glory!