Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee. — Deuteronomy 9:4
“Please? Please, Daddy? Can I help make the macaroni?” It was a familiar plea our little girl was making, but this day was different. This was the first day our daughter would help me make macaroni for dinner.
She was still very small and very inexperienced in the kitchen, so I was a little wary of letting her cook, but I was willing to make an offer: After I had boiled the pasta and drained it, and added milk and butter, she could pour in the cheese powder to make the cheese sauce. She eagerly accepted the opportunity and poured in the powder. “Now can I stir it?” she asked. “Just a little?” “All right,” I agreed. “Just a little.”
Soon the macaroni was ready, and I had finished cooking the chicken and the vegetables that were also a part of the meal. The table was set; dinner was served. As we enjoyed our meal that evening, our daughter was excited and proud to announce to my wife, “Guess what, Mom? I made the macaroni!”
A little amused, and being a stickler for accuracy in such matters, I asked our little girl, “You made the macaroni?”
“Well,” she admitted, “I helped you make it.”
How easy it is for us to do the same thing in our daily walks with Christ! We say, “I earned my degree.” “I landed a new job.” “I found a wonderful spouse.” “I got a great promotion!” Really? You made the macaroni? It is God who has provided opportunity for all these things. My daughter could justly take some credit, but can we take any credit for the blessings of God? If we have the wrong attitude, we may even begin to take credit for Christ’s righteousness in our lives and forget that it is by grace that we have opportunity to be saved.
Even if we recognize that our blessings are the result of God’s goodness, we may fool ourselves into thinking that God provides for us because we are His favorite children. This is why Moses told his countrymen that it was not their righteousness that moved God to give them Canaan, but to fulfill His purpose and His plan for the whole world. Likewise, He has saved us and blessed us, not solely for our own sakes or because we are deserving, but to allow us to fit within a greater plan. With every blessing God gives you, ask Him to show you how to use it for His glory.
In previous chapters, Moses rehearsed the Ten Commandments and instructed the people in how to follow them in the new country. In this passage, one theme stands out: the need of the Israelites for grace and mercy.
Moses began by emphasizing that what they were about to do was naturally impossible. Anak was a name given to a race of giants living in Canaan at this time; a foe made up of “nations greater and mightier than thyself,” whom the Children of Israel could never hope to defeat by their own power. Therefore they could not help but know that this achievement would literally be a miracle of God.
Next Moses pointed out that the Israelites had not earned the right to take the Promised Land. God had already called Israel a special, chosen nation. It would have been all too easy for the Israelites to conclude that something about themselves was superior to all other nations and that this was why they were so blessed. God had not given it to them because of any special righteousness on their part; on the contrary, God himself declared them a stubborn, sinful people. Rather, they were God’s instruments of punishment against the Canaanites because of their wickedness. Thus their entrance into the Promised Land was an act of God’s grace.
To emphasize this point, Moses told them the account of how they and their forefathers had sinned against God in the wilderness, especially in the making and worshiping of the golden calf. Moses reminded them that they would not be alive, but for the fact that he, Moses, prayed to God for mercy and God granted Israel mercy at Moses’ word. Hence their very lives were an undeserved gift of God’s mercy.
Finally, Moses told the rest of God’s answer to his prayer: not only life for the Israelites, but two new tablets of the Law, a special privilege of service for the tribe of Levi, and a renewed promise to give them the Promised Land.
The Israelites deserved bondage and finally death by God’s wrath for rejecting Him and rebelling against Him. The Israelites received life, health, peace, God’s Law, and the Promised Land for their complete possession. Truly this was an undeserved gift, unmerited favor, and God’s matchless grace.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The second discourse: exposition of the Law
B. The exposition of the Decalogue
2. The explanation and application of the Decalogue
g. The warning against self-righteousness (9:1 — 10:11)
(1) The warning (9:1-6)
(2) The rehearsal of past failures (9:7-24)
(3) The intercession of Moses (9:25-29)
(4) The intercession’s results (10:1-11)
(a) The reiteration of the Law (10:1-5)
(b) The privilege of the Levites (10:6-9)
(c) The exhortation to possess the land (10:10-11)
As with the Israelites, we have been blessed beyond our understanding by God’s mercy and grace. We must never take credit ourselves for what He has done for us, but acknowledge Him in all our ways, and always recognize our constant dependency on Him for everything.