When God’s people were in Egypt, he promised to send them back to the land of Jacob, that is, the Promised Land.
God would give them the land because they deserved it, right? Surely God would bless them with freedom and a place to call home because they earned it. Their endurance while enslaved in Egypt for four centuries must have secured this reward.
Certainly, they would receive the Promised Land because of good behavior and righteous living. They had garnered God’s favor and he was duty-bound to respond.
No, that’s not it at all.
Moses said God would not do this to reward Israel but to punish the nations they would displace. God had a bigger picture in mind and in order to accomplish it, he blessed one people in order to remove the wickedness of another. The Israelites were the happy recipients of God’s unmerited favor.
When something good happens, we often assume God’s implicit acknowledgment of our character and conduct.
But before we pat ourselves on our back, we should recall Moses’ warning to the people of Israel: they were not to assume the Promised Land was a response to their righteousness.
We shouldn’t make incorrect conclusions about why God chooses to bless but instead just be grateful when he does.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.