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Deuteronomy 8 (ESV)
10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Deuteronomy astutely warns its readers to beware of the complacency of success (or its appearance). God blesses us and we stop praying or caring about our relationship with God. “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth” (v17). So speaks the doomed arrogance of those who mistake their own resources for the blessing of God. We become self-sufficient. When life goes well, we forget God because we think we don’t need him.
However, life is such that it isn’t too long before our complacency lands us in trouble and we desperately seek God again. In today’s society, self-reliance is considered a virtue. Not so in the Bible, where the emphasis is on community in dependence upon God.
God, please keep falsehood and lies far from me, help me to be honest and truthful; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Prov 30:8-9)