Monday, February 12, 2007

The Power to Create Wealth: Remember the LORD Your God

And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is to this day. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
How do we remember the LORD our God, who has given us the ability to create wealth? Earlier in Deuteronomy 8, we find this: “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” (Deuteronomy 8:11).

The Hebrew word for “beware” means to hedge about, guard, protect, attend to, mark, preserve. It introduces something that calls for great diligence. The word for “forget” means to mislay or become oblivious to for lack of attention. It is not forgotten intentionally, but slips the mind because it has not been remembered intentionally.

What are we to be diligent about and mindful of so that we do not forget? To keep — to mark, observe and do — the commandments, judgments and ordinances of the Lord. We remember Him by doing whatever He instructs us to do.

Psalm 1 speaks about the intense happiness and great prosperity of the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly:
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Who leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
(Psalm 1:2-3)
Notice that it this not a drudgery but a delight, because it is filled with great promise. We don’t remember the Lord and His commandments because He is a hard, cruel taskmaster, but because He is a good and gracious God. The ability to create wealth does not come grudgingly from His hand, but is given freely to those who will take Him at His word and follow His direction. It is an act of His kindness and favor.

We do not keep the commandments just because it is pragmatic for us to do so, but we honor the LORD for who He is in Himself. We do not delight just in the law of the LORD, but also in the LORD Himself. David said, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). It is about a personal relationship, getting to know the heart of God, and letting His heart change our heart so that His desires, which are always good, become our desires as well. The result is that the prosperity of God will always lead us into prosperity, too.
Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
(Proverbs 3:9-10)
“Honor” is not giving lip-service, but is a very tangible expression. The Hebrew word is kabod, which is the word for “glory.” Literally, it means “heavy” and refers to the weight of good things. We honor the Lord by giving Him the good things out of our possessions and our increase. We literally give Him glory when we bring Him the first and the best (not the last and the least) of all our means. We respond to His prosperity toward us by being prosperous toward Him. Then we find that there is a greater prosperity released toward us as God honors our faithfulness toward Him.

When we remember the LORD our God, He always reminds of His benefits towards us:
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:1-5)
When we are diligent to remember the Lord, delighting in Him and His Word, obeying His commandments and instructions, and honoring Him with our possessions and the first and best of all our increase, we are positioned for operating in prosperity and the divine ability to create wealth.