SynopsisIn the last chapter, Moses warned the Israelites not to be ensnared by the gods of the nations around them. In this chapter, however, he warns them about something much more insidious: forgetfulness.
He begins the chapter by instructing the Israelites to follow every command that he is passing on to them, so that they “may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to [their] forefathers” (verse 1). He tells them to remember how God took care of them, as they wandered in the desert. He humbled them, but then He supplied them with manna to eat—to teach them that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (verse 3). The whole time they were in the desert, their clothes did not wear out and their feet didn’t swell. By all of this, the Israelites are to understand that God disciplines them, as a father disciplines his children.
So, since the LORD is bringing them into such a good land, they should obey His commands. They should walk in His ways, and revere Him (verse 6).
Moses also warns the Israelites not to forget about God, nor to neglect His commands, once they’ve settled into the Promised Land, and their bellies are full. He warns them that there is a danger of their hearts becoming proud, once they have settled into the land, and of them starting to believe that they obtained their place in the Promised Land on their own power. But if they do, Moses warns, God will destroy them, just as He is about to destroy the other nations currently living in the Promised Land.
ThoughtsI like the way that Moses phrases it, when he instructs the Israelites to walk in the LORD’s ways (verse 6). It does a good job of painting a picture whereby the Israelites aren’t just blindly obeying God, but actively being like Him.
Again, Moses is warning them of the danger that comes with peace and prosperity. When you’re at peace, and when you’re prosperous, and when your belly is full, there is always a danger that you’ll start to believe that you don’t need God. It’s foolish, but, as humans, we’re prone to it.