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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 8

Verses 1-20

  1. Intro:
    1. Remember the Alamo was a battle cry in which the bitterness of the Texans over the massacres by Mexican forces at the Alamo in San Antonio found expression, on March 6,1836.
      1. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds (200 vs. 1500).
      2. The children in the wilderness also just went through a heroic struggle against impossible odds. By trusting in God the last 40 years. Remember!
    2. How’s your memory? - I have an incredible memory for names ever since I took that Sam Carnegie course. Or was it Dale?
      1. I love the story of the man who went to a memory improvement seminar and was excited about what he learned. A friend asked him what the name of the seminar was. “What’s that flower in the garden, long stems, thorns, bright red...” “Oh, you must mean a rose?” “Yeah, that’s right. Rose, what was the name of that seminar I went to?”
      2. Moses gives the children of Israel 2 things to Remember...Outline: Remember the Wilderness - Remember your God. Remember(2) Do not forget(11).
        1. Its a warning against their Independence/self rule/autonomy/freedom...from God.
        2. Title: Perils of Prosperity
  2. REMEMBER THE WILDERNESS (1-6)
    1. ​​​​​​​For Israel there was always a connection between obeying God’s commands & their receiving His blessing in the Promised Land.
      1. To help them connect the dots, Moses emphasizes the goodness of God’s provision during their wilderness wanderings & of the goodness of the land which He was about to provide.
    2. (2b) Moses was using an anthropomorphism (attributing human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, object)
      1. God, of course, already knew what was in their hearts. The point is that their obedience or disobedience had to be proven in history.
    3. (3) [God] fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
      1. He gave them manna - an utterly un-heard-of food falling from heaven. Why?
        1. So that they would learn to live on everything that comes from the mouth of God.
        2. How does miraculous manna teach that? Because manna is one of the incredible ways God can, with a mere word, reveal himself and meet your needs when all else looks hopeless.
        3. God led them into the desert where they had no alternative but to trust Him or to murmur against Him. In the desert they could not produce their own food but had to depend on God for food and thus for their very lives. When Moses reminded them that Slide#8 they did not live on bread alone he meant that even their food was decreed by the word of God. They had manna because it came by His command. It was therefore ultimately not bread that kept them alive but His word! “Bread alone,” that is, bread acquired independently of His word, could not keep them alive.
      2. But watch what Satan does with this in Mt.4:1-4.
        1. Satan says to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, turn this stone to bread."
          1. Someone asked,“Why is it opportunity knocks only once, yet Temptation bangs on the door constantly?”
        2. In other words, "Do the manna thing. Make manna like you did in the wilderness. If the point of manna in the wilderness was to teach the people to expect miracles in distress, then treat yourself to some miracle bread, and you will be obeying Scripture."
      3. And Jesus responds, "You are so close and yet so far. You have always handled the Word of God that way, so subtle. You sound like you approve God's Word, but you turn every word against him. The point is this Satan: Don't trust in bread - not even miracle bread - trust in God.
        1. Don't get your deepest satisfactions in life from food - not even God-wrought miracle food - but from God. Every word that comes out of the mouth of God reveals God. And it is this self-revelation that we feed on. This will last forever. This is eternal life.
        2. Begone, Satan, God is my portion. I will not turn from His path and His fellowship, not even for miraculous manna.” (John Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/man-shall-not-live-on-bread-alone​​​​​​​) or miracle bread, or miracle whip]
    4. Note comparisons:
      1. The Lord your God led you all the way these 40 yrs in the wilderness. Dt.8:2
      2. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness. Mt.4:1
      3. The Lord your God led you all the way these 40 yrs in the wilderness. Dt.8:2
      4. He had fasted forty days and forty nights. Mt.4:2
      5. To test you, to know what was in your heart. Dt.8:2
      6. Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted/tested. Mt.4:2
      7. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger. Dt.8:3
      8. And when He had fasted 40 days & 40 nights, afterward He was hungry. Mt.4:2
        1. In both cases God was delivering His people. In both cases God sent a new Joshua to lead & represent His people. In both cases God was delivering His people into a Promised Land.
      9. Poem: The Battle
        1. Satan: Turn this rock into a roll. Jesus: All these rocks wouldn’t make me full.
        2. ​​​​​​​Satan: Make these stones into some scones. Jesus: Not even if I were skin-n-Bones. Ya see I have food my Foe, of which you don’t Know. And to change even a pebble, would make me a rebel.
        3. Satan: Strike one...but I’ve just begun.
      10. Anatoli Shcharansky, a dissident Soviet Jew, kissed his wife goodbye as she left Russia for freedom in Israel. His parting words to her were, “I’ll see you soon in Jerusalem.” But Anatoli was detained and finally imprisoned. Their reunion in Jerusalem would not only be postponed, it might never occur. During long years in Russian prisons and work camps Anatoli was stripped of his personal belongings. His only possession was a miniature copy of the Psalms. Once during his imprisonment, his refusal to release the book to the authorities cost him 130 days in solitary confinement.
        Finally, twelve years after parting with his wife, he was offered freedom. In February 1986, as the world watched, Shcharansky was allowed to walk away from Russian guards toward those who would take him to Jerusalem. But in the final moments of captivity, the guards tried again to confiscate the Psalms book. Anatoli threw himself face down in the snow and refused to walk on to freedom without it. Those words had kept him alive during imprisonment. He would not go on to freedom without them. (From Discipleship Journal, Issue #43 (1988), p. 24)
    5. Discipline (5)
    6. God’s goodness is also shown through His disciplining them, like a father a son.
    7. He also showed them their dependence still needed to be on Him alone, as He already lead them through a land without adequate food or water, where they could not possibly survive through their own efforts alone.
      1. God let Israel suffer hunger, thirst, & want, then supplied their physical needs so they would know emphatically He is their provider.
      2. He also did this so they would not be spoiled by the ease which comes from self-sufficiency.
      3. They needed to know material possessions & wealth come from God, before they entered their Promised Land.
  3. REMEMBER YOUR GOD (7-20)
    1. ​​​​​​​You will lack nothing
    2. The land which they were now about to enter...lacked nothing. (9)
      1. Ample water(7). 7 life sustaining food sources(8). Mineral resources(9b).
        1. These 7 they are still known for today.
        2. They have both iron & copper in the south.
    3. Then you shall bless God because of these blessings. Or at least they should.
    4. (11) But you might forget the lessons the wilderness taught you & somehow credit yourselves for your life of ease.
      1. Who needs to trust in God when life is going well? :(
    5. The Perils of Prosperity (10-14)
    6. How few people can stand success & prosperity, & handle it in a humble way.
    7. Affluence is not inherently evil, it is inherently dangerous.
      1. Israel’s greatest treasure isn’t silver & gold, but the memory of a time of poverty that demonstrated God’s love & their dependence on Him.
        1. Remember the peanut-butter & jelly years? (early married years) Remember the Great Depression? (my dads Great Depression memories) Remember 9-11? The Great Recession of 2008? The Global Recession of 2009?
      2. Moses prescribed a sure antidote for this danger: bless/praise the Lord your God.
        1. In fact failure to praise Him for His blessings was a step toward forgetting God and then disobeying His commands.
      3. In times of prosperity it is easy to forget the true source of blessing & even assume that life’s good things are the result of our own effort & the reward of our merit.
        1. James 1:17 NIV Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Verses 1-20

  1. Intro:
    1. Slide#2 Remember the Alamo was a battle cry in which the bitterness of the Texans over the massacres by Mexican forces at the Alamo in San Antonio found expression, on March 6,1836.
      1. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds (200 vs. 1500).
      1. The children in the wilderness also just went through a heroic struggle against impossible odds. By trusting in God the last 40 years. Remember!
    1. How’s your memory? - I have an incredible memory for names ever since I took that Sam Carnegie course. Or was it Dale?
      1. I love the story of the man who went to a memory improvement seminar and was excited about what he learned. A friend asked him what the name of the seminar was. “What’s that flower in the garden, long stems, thorns, bright red...” “Oh, you must mean a rose?” “Yeah, that’s right. Rose, what was the name of that seminar I went to?”
      1. Slide#3 Moses gives the children of Israel 2 things to Remember...Outline: Remember the Wilderness - Remember your God. Remember(2) Do not forget(11).
        1. Its a warning against their Independence/self rule/autonomy/freedom...from God.
        1. Slide#4 Title: Perils of Prosperity
  1. Slide#5 REMEMBER THE WILDERNESS (1-6)
    1. For Israel there was always a connection between obeying God’s commands & their receiving His blessing in the Promised Land.
      1. To help them connect the dots, Moses emphasizes the goodness of God’s provision during their wilderness wanderings & of the goodness of the land which He was about to provide.
    1. Slide#6 (2b) Moses was using an anthropomorphism (attributing human characteristics or behavior to a god,

animal, object)

2

    1. God, of course, already knew what was in their hearts. The point is that their obedience or disobedience had to be proven in history.
  1. Slide#7 (3) [God] fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
    1. He gave them manna - an utterly un-heard-of food falling from heaven. Why?
      1. So that they would learn to live on everything that comes from the mouth of God.
      1. How does miraculous manna teach that? Because manna is one of the incredible ways God can, with a mere word, reveal himself and meet your needs when all else looks hopeless.
      1. God led them into the desert where they had no alternative but to trust Him or to murmur against Him. In the desert they could not produce their own food but had to depend on God for food and thus for their very lives. When Moses reminded them that Slide#8 they did not live on bread alone he meant that even their food was decreed by the word of God. They had manna because it came by His command. It was therefore ultimately not bread that kept them alive but His word! “Bread alone,” that is, bread acquired independently of His word, could not keep them alive.
    1. Slide#9 But watch what Satan does with this in Mt.4:1-4.
      1. Satan says to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, turn this stone to bread."
        1. Someone asked,“Why is it opportunity knocks only once, yet Temptation bangs on the door constantly?”
      1. In other words, "Do the manna thing. Make manna like you did in the wilderness. If the point of manna in the wilderness was to teach the people to expect miracles in

distress, then treat yourself to some miracle bread, and you will be obeying Scripture."

    1. And Jesus responds, "You are so close and yet so far. You have always handled the Word of God that way, so subtle. You sound like you approve God's Word, but you turn every word against him. The point is this Satan: Don't trust in bread - not even miracle bread - trust in God.
      1. Don't get your deepest satisfactions in life from food - not even God-wrought miracle food - but from God. Every word that comes out of the mouth of God reveals God. And it is this self-revelation that we feed on. This will last forever. This is eternal life.
      1. Begone, Satan, God is my portion. I will not turn from His path and His fellowship, not

even for miraculous manna.” 1 [or miracle bread, or miracle whip]

  1. Slide#10 Note comparisons:
    1. The Lord your God led you all the way these 40 yrs in the wilderness. Dt.8:2
    1. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness. Mt.4:1

1

John Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/man-shall-not-live-on-bread-alone

3

    1. The Lord your God led you all the way these 40 yrs in the wilderness. Dt.8:2
    1. He had fasted forty days and forty nights. Mt.4:2
    1. To test you, to know what was in your heart. Dt.8:2
    1. Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted/tested. Mt.4:2
    1. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger. Dt.8:3
    1. And when He had fasted 40 days & 40 nights, afterward He was hungry. Mt.4:2
      1. In both cases God was delivering His people. In both cases God sent a new Joshua to lead & represent His people. In both cases God was delivering His people into a Promised Land.
    1. Poem: The Battle
      1. Satan: Turn this rock into a roll. Jesus: All these rocks wouldn’t make me full.
      1. Satan: Make these stones into some scones. Jesus: Not even if I were skin-n-Bones. Ya see I have food my Foe, of which you don’t Know. And to change even a pebble, would make me a rebel.
      1. Satan: Strike one...but I’ve just begun.
    1. Slide#11 Anatoli Shcharansky, a dissident Soviet Jew, kissed his wife goodbye as she left Russia for freedom in Israel. His parting words to her were, “I’ll see you soon in Jerusalem.” But Anatoli was detained and finally imprisoned. Their reunion in Jerusalem would not only be postponed, it might never occur. During long years in Russian prisons and work camps Anatoli was stripped of his personal belongings. His only possession was a miniature copy of the Psalms. Once during his imprisonment, his refusal to release the book to the authorities cost him 130 days in solitary confinement.

Finally, twelve years after parting with his wife, he was offered freedom. In February 1986, as the world watched, Shcharansky was allowed to walk away from Russian guards toward those who would take him to Jerusalem. But in the final moments of captivity, the guards tried again to confiscate the Psalms book. Anatoli threw himself face down in the snow and refused to walk on to freedom without it. Those words had kept him alive during imprisonment. He would not go on to freedom without them.2

  1. Slide#12 Discipline (5)
  1. God’s goodness is also shown through His disciplining them, like a father a son.
  1. He also showed them their dependence still needed to be on Him alone, as He already lead them through a land without adequate food or water, where they could not possibly survive through their own efforts alone.
    1. God let Israel suffer hunger, thirst, & want, then supplied their physical needs so they would know emphatically He is their provider.

2

From Discipleship Journal, Issue #43 (1988), p. 24

4

  1. He also did this so they would not be spoiled by the ease which comes from self-sufficiency.
  1. They needed to know material possessions & wealth come from God, before they entered their Promised Land.

IV. Slide#13 REMEMBER YOUR GOD (7-20)

  1. Slide#14a You will lack nothing
  1. The land which they were now about to enter...lacked nothing. (9)
    1. Ample water(7). 7 life sustaining food sources(8). Mineral resources(9b).
      1. These 7 they are still known for today.
      1. They have both iron & copper in the south.
  1. Then you shall bless God because of these blessings. Or at least they should.
  1. (11) But you might forget the lessons the wilderness taught you & somehow credit yourselves for your life of ease.
    1. Who needs to trust in God when life is going well? :(
  1. Slide#14b The Perils of Prosperity (10-14)
  1. How few people can stand success & prosperity, & handle it in a humble way.
  1. Slide#15 Affluence is not inherently evil, it is inherently dangerous.
    1. Slide#16 Israel’s greatest treasure isn’t silver & gold, but the memory of a time of poverty that demonstrated God’s love & their dependence on Him.
      1. Remember the peanut-butter & jelly years? (early married years) Remember the Great Depression? (my dads Great Depression memories)

Remember 9-11? The Great Recession of 2008? The Global Recession of 2009?

    1. Slide#17 Moses prescribed a sure antidote for this danger: bless/praise the Lord your God.
      1. In fact failure to praise Him for His blessings was a step toward forgetting God and then disobeying His commands.
    1. In times of prosperity it is easy to forget the true source of blessing & even assume that life’s good things are the result of our own effort & the reward of our merit.
      1. James 1:17 NIV Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 8". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/deuteronomy-8.html. 2017.