One Of The Biggest Weaknesses of Human Behavior

This sheet on Deuteronomy 8 was written by Yair Bernstein for 929 and can also be found here

It seems like chapter 8 in the book of Deuteronomy has only one purpose: to address one of the biggest weaknesses of human behavior. The writer of this text knows what happens when people get too comfortable. They, or shall I say we, forget and we take for granted.

Verse 7 starts a lengthy description of how amazing this new land is going to be. A land with streams of water coming out of mountains, a land of wheat, vines, and figs (verse 8), a land with natural resources (verse 9). In this land, the people of Israel will grow and be successful. They will build great houses (verse 12) and their livestock will increase (verse 13). But with all these, the writer knows that the people of Israel will ”forget the LORD” (verse 14) and will say to themselves: “My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me.” (Verse 17). What a beautifully phrased statement - “My own power and my own might”.

Studies show that many times when people experience failure, they find all the headwinds that were working against them. And when people experience success, they don’t always talk about all the tailwinds that pushed them to where they are. It is easy to forget where we came from when we are in a better place.

So in a sense, chapter 8 is less about God and his threat to those who forget where they came from and why they have all this good. Chapter 8 is more about human beings. It is asking us to always remember that our success is dependent on others. That there is always something to be thankful for in our successes. Something that helped us through the “desert” and brought us to the “promised land.”

(ז) כִּ֚י יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ מְבִֽיאֲךָ֖ אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ טוֹבָ֑ה אֶ֚רֶץ נַ֣חֲלֵי מָ֔יִם עֲיָנֹת֙ וּתְהֹמֹ֔ת יֹצְאִ֥ים בַּבִּקְעָ֖ה וּבָהָֽר׃
(7) For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill;

Yair Bernstein currently serves as a Shaliach of the World Zionist Organization to a school in Chicago.

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