“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, NKJV)
Have you ever considered how our blessings can easily become our downfall? I began thinking about this as I read the above passage during my daily devotional time. In fact, the translation I’m reading this year puts subtitles between portions of text, and these verses were marked “The Danger of Fullness.” God showers me—and you—with blessings every day; but if I’m not careful, I may take those blessings for granted. That might even lead to a feeling of entitlement, that I deserve all these things God has given me. You can see the downward trend there. The danger is in forgetting the source of our blessings.
These verses in Deuteronomy were spoken by Moses as the children of Israel waited to move into the Promised Land. Moses knew the danger and warned them to beware lest their abundance (fullness) in the new land develop into pride and forgetfulness. As we read further about their conquest, we see that is exactly what happened. Once they had been slaves in Egypt, but now they owned nice homes, had large flocks and herds, and money in their pocket. They were prospering with material goods, but God no longer held priority in their lives. In fact, many turned to the worship of false gods and completely forgot the One who had blessed them with this abundance.
I Timothy 3:8 tells us, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (NKJV). But are we? Those of us living in economically advanced nations often desire (feel we deserve) more than just the basics. Often, the more we possess, the more we want. Our lives lack contentment and thankfulness. As Deuteronomy says, we have eaten and we are full. But are we spiritually full? Has our materialistic lifestyle given us spiritual lethargy? Are we so full that we no longer hunger for the things of God?
What are the dangers of fullness? I could list many things—spiritual barrenness, pride, discontent. Our self-sufficiency also erodes our faith in God’s provision. We trust in our own abilities rather than His sufficiency. Romans 8:7 warns, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (ESV).
What is the antidote to materialism and fullness? Putting God first in our lives. He delights in giving His children good things. He desires for us to “prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (III John 2, NKJV). We must never forget to keep His commandments and recognize that all blessings come from His hand, not from our own efforts.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:33, NKJV)
(Additional scriptures for study: Job 36:11; Matthew 13:22; Luke 21:34; Philippians 4:11-13; Colossians 3:1-2; I Timothy 6:17-19.)