As Moses closes out the message from God to the Israelites before they enter the promised land, in these last chapters of Deuteronomy, everything centers around God’s renewed covenant with them. “You will be my people and I will be your God.” It is a bonded relationship, a commitment, a promise, a covenant.
But God is not blind to the future practices of his partner in this relationship. He knows, even as He makes the vow, that His people will cheat on Him. They will lie, they will turn to other gods, they will make sacrifices to those other gods and they will abandon the Lord. He knows all of this and still chooses them and still promises to stay true to the relationship.
Think about that. Would you enter into a covenant relationship with a spouse or business partner that you knew would do these things to you? That is how great God’s love is!
And, he warns them that this fall will not come in the hard times. They won’t turn to other gods or sin when they are conquering the land, when God is in front of them fighting the battles, or when they face death, difficulty, hunger or other challenges. They will be most tempted and yield to that temptation in the times of abundance. When they are no longer wandering in the desert but living off the bounty of the land that God promised them and that God provided to them and that God nourished and cared for for them – then they will cheat on Him.
They will decide they know better. God said, to clear out the native people. He divided up the land and none of it was an inheritance to the wicked enemies who currently occupied it, but the Israelites felt they knew better. They had plenty, plus they could be in charge of making treaties and inter-marrying. It’s not like they needed to rely on God, things were going well.
When we face challenges in life, we turn back to God. When terrorist attacks occur, the churches fill up. But when things go well, when God provides, we turn away from Him.
However, God is faithful. His faith is not in us – that would be foolish. His faith is in Himself and the nature and character of who He is and the relationship He has committed to with His people. His end of that relationship is unwavering. It may take us reaching the point where we must rely on Him because we have nothing else, but even then, especially then, God is faithful. We cannot earn that faithfulness. We do not deserve that faithfulness.
I found it interesting that one of the words that is a synonym to faithfulness is fidelity. Infidelity in a relationship is to cheat on the relationship. Someone who is called an infidel is literally to call them “without faith.” But, most interesting to me was that high fidelity is an audio term used to describe something that is a very close copy of the original. It was used with improved recording techniques and the move to digital mastering. But God is not a copy of the original – God is the original. Simply stated you cannot reach a higher level of fidelity than the Creator, the true Master.
When things would go well, they would become self reliant and abandon God and reject Him, They would worship foreign gods, sacrifice to them , desert God. I have become lax in my obedience and time with God when things go well. I take Him for granted and fail to praise Him and honor Him, relying on myself. I explore other things, rather than staying true.
Idolotry. They failed to be obedient and remove the people and gods of the nations they were to defeat.
They lacked sense and discernment
There is a “their” and an “our”. 1. Moses is part of the our and he is Hebrew. 2. God has promised that the Israelites will be My people and I will be your God, so the “their” must be someone else. All others that tempt Israel are enemies to her.
When it best demonstrates His glory. When their strength and rebellion is exhausted.