FIRST-PERSON: The danger of plenty
SPRING, Texas (BP) -- Few of us in the average evangelical church in America have real need. Yes, I know some do go hungry and some have no roof over their heads. But that is the exception. The vast majority of us have all that we need. In fact, many of us have far more than we need. We have plenty.
And that in itself is a problem. Plenty can bring more serious trouble than need.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses warned the children of Israel about the danger of plenty before they entered the Promised Land:
"But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 8:11-14 NLT)
After 40 years wandering in the wilderness and depending on God for every bite of food and drink of water, the Israelites were about to settle into a land of abundance. Yes, the wilderness had been a physically difficult place, but this land of plenty would bring unique spiritual dangers. Moses points out four specific dangers in Deuteronomy 8:11-19:
1. Forgetfulness -- When we aren't forced to depend on God for our daily physical sustenance, we tend to forget Him. We fail to remember that God provides everything, even our ability to work and make money to purchase all the things we have.
2. Pride -- Not only do we forget God's provision, we begin to think we have done it all ourselves. We become puffed up and prideful in our plenty.
3. Disobedience -- When we have forgotten God and become full of ourselves we begin to do anything and everything we want. We do it our way and give no heed to God's commands.
All this leads to idolatry. Once we have forgotten God, something else will assume His rightful place in our lives. Whether money, job, recreation, another person, or ourselves, we will worship something.
How can we avoid the danger of plenty? Moses tells us that too. In one word, we must "remember."
Remember God's past provision. Remember God's equipping for work. Remember God's rightful place as the one true God who deserves our worship.