Prosperity and Forgetting God

“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 6:10-15

This is a good warning for Americans to heed. We have truly grown up in a land of milk and honey. Even if you are poor, there is no better place in the world to be poor than America. And yet, we are a nation of whiners and complainers, perhaps the most ungrateful people on the planet. Nothing is ever good enough for us. That is what forgetting God looks like.

This is why we need the word of God. It calls us to account, reminds us of the big picture, and resets our priorities. Without it, we decide for ourselves what is true north: our greed, our sexual appetites, our ideologies, our resentments.

Several years ago, some opportunistic politicians scolded business owners, saying, “You didn’t build that!” They were making the case that the owners owed their success to those who built America’s infrastructure. They were half right. Success and prosperity come from God, but His constituency is very small, so He seldom gets the glory.

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