When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Deuteronomy 8:10-14
In these verses, Moses is warning the Israelites not to forget the Lord when they finally enter into the Promised Land and begin to benefit from all of its blessings.
This passage makes me think of America. We are so blessed in this country. We have unbelievable freedom. Freedom that has come at great sacrifice through the years. We are free to express our opinions and our rights. We can freely worship God. We have unlimited access to truth—Bibles in any translation, devotional books, blogs, articles, sermons. Truth is literally at our fingertips.
But truth is not easily accessible in other countries like it is in America. Many don’t have access to God’s Word. Many Christians are persecuted for their faith—even killed. Many cannot worship God in public settings, like church. We take so much for granted in this country.
I take so much for granted.
Can I get real for a sec? I own probably 10 Bibles and some days I don’t even take the time to open one and read it.
I just finished an amazing book called “The Insanity of God.” I highly recommend it.
Warning: You will not get much sleep when you read this book because you won’t be able to put it down. This book absolutely rocked my world. The author, Nik Ripken, was a missionary to Africa. In the first part of the book, he tells his story about his experience in Africa. In the second half, he tells about his journey to different countries as he interviews persecuted Christians.
He shared about students in communist Russia who, because God’s Word was not easily accessible, memorized the first 4 gospels of the New Testament.
Yeah! You heard that right! That’s ALL of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
He shared how home church pastors in China would rip out books of the Bible and divide them among the different pastors so the house churches would have access to at least one book of the Bible to read and study.
Many of the Christians Nik met said they considered it an honor to go to prison and suffer for the Lord. Prison was their seminary. One of the persecuted Christians he interviewed said this:
“Don’t give up in freedom what we would never give up in persecution.”
I cannot get over that quote! Those Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs and still they hold firm and refuse to give up. What about us? Have we become so consumed with our blessings that we have forgotten the Blesser? We give up and take for granted our incredible access to God and His Word.
Here’s another sobering quote from the book:
“For decades now, many concerned Western believers have sought to rescue their spiritual brothers and sisters around the world who suffer because they follow Jesus. Yet our pilgrimage among house churches in persecution convinced us that God may actually want to use them to rescue us from the often debilitating, and sometimes spiritually-fatal, effects of our watered-down, powerless western faith.”
Christians, may this be a wake up call to not take this freedom we have been given in this country for granted. Let’s not give up in freedom what our persecuted brothers and sisters would never give up in persecution.
“Lord, I am so convicted. Help me to not forget You. I am surrounded with blessings. Thank you, Lord! All that I have comes from Your hand. Help me not to give up in freedom what those precious persecuted Christians will never give up in persecution. God, please help me to treasure Your Word–to cling to it every day like my life depends on it, because it does. It truly does. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”