Deuteronomy Chapter 8

In this chapter, Moses continues his final sermons to the children of Israel. In preparation for his leaving and their gaining of the promised land, the Lord has commanded Moses to teach the people. In the last few chapters, it seems that he has focused on the importance of keeping the commandments and remembering the Lord. This chapter begins:

1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers.
2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

The promise given to the Israelites, was that if they would keep the commandments they had received, they would be blessed to live, grow in number, and inherit the land they were promised. One of the things that would help them to keep these commandments, was to remember how the Lord had guided them to this land. His purposes for doing this, was so that they would become more humble and prove themselves obedient to his commandments. The Lord had allowed trials to come upon them, to teach them that people need Him and His gospel. In particular, they experienced the trial of hunger, and the Lord provided manna for them. Moses teaches them, that this experience was to teach them that they could not live by just partaking of food for the body, but that they needed to hearken to the word of the Lord in order to live as well. Moses also says here, that their clothing did not “wax old” or their foot swell, which is the first time I can recall him mentioning this blessing. They had the protection and comfort that comes from clothing that does not wear out. I think of the pioneers, who suffered greatly because their shoes wore out and they did not have the clothing necessary to keep themselves protected from the harsh weather. For some, this lack of good clothing, led to their death. The Israelites were truly provided for all the many years that they wandered, and it was something to be especially grateful for.

There have been promises such as these given in modern days as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 93:20, the saints are promised, “For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.” This is a beautiful promise of blessings we will have for eternity, and they are dependent upon our obedience to the commandments of the Lord. Just as the Israelites were told that the Lord would humble them and prove them, He does the same for us. If we have an open heart, we can learn the lessons the Lord wants to teach us, through the trials and tests He allows us to experience. Part of the purpose of life on earth, is to be tested. We learn about this in Abraham 3:

24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

Without this testing and our proving ourselves obedient, we cannot grow beyond what we are right now. I believe this life is designed for our progression now, as well as after this life.

I am just beginning to come to understand the lessons the Israelites were being taught about the bread of life. This lesson is so important, that we learn of it through the life of the Savior as well. When faced with the direct temptation of the adversary to turn stones into bread during his time of fasting, Jesus said, “Is is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (see Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4)” This teaching is also repeated in modern revelation. In Doctrine and Covenants 84 we read the following:

43 And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.
44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.

Our souls are not only physical. We are a spiritual being as well, and as spiritual beings, we suffer spiritual hunger along with physical hunger. I have experienced the deep spiritual hunger that life can bring with all its difficulties. Over the past several years, as I have turned to the word of the Lord to deal with that hunger, I have found amazing blessings of feeling filled. Today, I cannot imagine my life without seeking for the knowledge, truth, understanding, comfort and love, that come from studying the gospel daily. If we can come to a knowledge, that we need the word of the Lord and bread of life in our lives, and then we actively live it, we will be better prepared when our tests and trials come.

5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.
6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
7 For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.

Moses teaches the Israelites, that the Lord will chasten His children. He will chasten us. He does this because He loves us. I think that this is a hard idea for many people to hear these days, but I believe it to be true. God, more than any soul that has lived upon the earth, wants what is the best for us. He knows that following after the ways of Satan are not what is best. He knows that only He can offer us the greatest gift of all, which is eternal life. He gives us reminders of the ways we can get there, as he chastens us. If we obey the commandments, follow the example of Jesus Christ, and love and respect our Father in Heaven, He will have no need to chasten us.

God does not wait to bless us for our righteousness. When we are obedient, we are blessed in this life and we will be blessed after this life as well, just as He blessed the Israelites with the goodness of the promised land. In all these things, they needed to be grateful for the blessings God gave them. Likewise, in all the things that we have in this life, we should be grateful to God for giving them to us.

11 Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
20 As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.

The people were warned again, that if they forgot God and all the things he had done for them, allowing their own pride to shut Him out and let in other gods to worship, they would perish just like the other nations they had and would destroy. This warning is for us as well. I love the verses we read in Helaman 12, which teach us this principle in more detail.

1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.

When we take for granted the hand of the Lord in our lives, and begin to think we are as great as we are because of ourselves alone, we no longer worship God. In this case, I think we begin to worship the work of our own hands. When we are righteous, we are promised prosperity and growth in many ways. If we begin to allow our own pride to cause us to forget that we are blessed by God in our property and growth, we will fall away after other gods, ultimately following the adversary and worshipping him, becoming an enemy to God. If we fall away, because of our disobedience and ingratitude towards God, our own eventual destruction will come and we will perish. If we hope to experience the blessings promised to the faithful, we need to remember the Lord, follow His word, and continue with thankful hearts to God.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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