Just in case, by any chance, or at any one time, we think that our own worth has earned us our stand in life—we should just read the book of Deuteronomy.
It is very easy to believe that the good things we have in life have come to us through our own effort. Or because we are somehow good. NOT SO. We do not deserve any of them. Moses made sure that the children of Israel knew that!
“It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land. . . Understand then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord you God is giving you this good land to posses, for you are a stiff-necked people” (Dt 9:5,6). “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other people… but it was because he loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers” (Dt 7:7-8). “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord” (Dt 6:12).
Israel did not deserve God’s favor. Neither do I. But God did bless Israel, and wants to bless us also. He is seeking for trustworthy stewards through whom He can extend His influence and reign, and through whom His glory can be seen among all nations. Assuming their obedience, God declared “I will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations… that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God” (Dt 26:19).
Quite a promise! But the children of Israel did not obey. The book of Judges gives quite an opposite picture as the tumultuous cycles of oppression and tragedy overtake God’s beloved people. God’s decrees had been forgotten. Everyone did what seemed right “in his own eyes”; there were no absolutes or moral guide.
Blessings undeserved; troubles self-inflicted. Lord, help us not forget!