“For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees…” vss. 9b-10a
The scribes of Israel believed that if the people obeyed the Lord by observing the Lord’s commandments and decrees, the Lord would take delight in bringing prosperity to the nation. The Lord would make Israel great again! We can understand why this was such a long-lasting and popular teaching. In fact, there are many in the United States on this Independence Day who fervently believe that this can be true for America. Some preach what has come to be called a “Prosperity Gospel,” the notion that God will materially reward those who are obedient to the Law. And if that’s true for individuals, it will most certainly be true for the nation. Admittedly this is a popular teaching, and it does offer hope to people who are struggling. And blessings do come to those who lead decent and moral lives. But the problem is that the prosperity gospel offers a material solution to what is at its core a spiritual issue. Israel found that out through the years–they never did attain their dreams of prosperity, but through suffering they developed a spiritual strength that could not be destroyed or taken away. It’s that kind of spiritual renewal that is the hope of our country, and not an ever-expanding gross national product.
Thought for the Day: What does it mean to be a “great nation”?