Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Deuteronomy 9:4-6 -- On Righteousness and Stiff Necks

"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.
Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people."
Deuteronomy 9:4-6

This is an interesting, and kind of harsh, lecture where God is explaining to the people that he isn't leading them to the promised land as a reward for good behavior.

I think sometimes we need this kind of lecture, even in our lives now.  We get pretty prideful, thinking that we're better than others because of our cool promised land, or other blessings, and we forget that God is working out his plan, not necessarily rewarding us.

Now, I'm not saying God doesn't reward us, or that blessings don't follow obedience... often they do, when we don't have a specific trial to go through and learn from, as is also often the case, and righteousness and blessings are certainly good things to work for.  But perhaps after reading these verses we should work some humility into our assumptions, and make sure that we are not being stiffnecked and prideful in our dealings with God, assuming that we're better and everyone else is worse.  Remember the Rameumptom (Alma 31:17-21)?

Today, let's be upright in heart.  Let's be obedient and righteous, so that the Lord doesn't have to deliver a similar lecture to us.  And let's work to respect the people around us, and respect God's will.

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