For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? Deuteronomy 4:7 (NLT)
Relate: Almost weekly, my youngest child has “the worst day ever.” Now, the day could be jam packed with special attention, fun activities, and her favorite foods, but, if something doesn’t go her way at the end of the day, she will proclaim it to be the worst day ever. She forgets all the good of the day, and she goes to bed unhappy and sad. Feeling, perhaps, unloved, disappointed, or undervalued.
It breaks my heart when this happens. I talk to her about all the fun parts of the day and the importance of learning to focus on the good instead of the bad and being content with what we have instead of always wanting something more. I am working hard to teach her that joy is a choice of focus.
When I read Deuteronomy 4, I picture Moses talking to the people of Israel the way I talk to my daughter- desperate for her to take to heart the reality and the truth of the joy she can live with if she would not forget all the good in her life that comes from my husband and I’s deep love for her. It is easy to make this comparison because of the manner in which the Israelites seemed to continually express a desire to return to the slavery of Egypt, forgetting all the ways God had miraculously freed them. Moses pleads with the people to remember all the good God has done for them and to follow his decrees. He knows they are prone to forget God’s provision and love. He also knows the good that comes to their lives when they focus on God and follow his decrees.
React: I know I can sometimes declare my temporary situation to be the worst ever, just like the Israelites continually cried out in complaint to God about momentary set backs. However, Moses stresses the unique nature of a God that is both close/available to mankind and full of power.
As believers, we have a God of presence and a God of power. If we learn to keep our focus on this knowledge, we can live a life of joy instead of fear and doubt. We can rest in the knowledge we serve a God who loves us and desires only the best for us. We may see a Red Sea or a rock without water, but God sees a dry path and a fresh spring. We can chose to complain, blame God, and focus on the trials; or we can live with the joy and knowledge that God is near to us whenever we call him. He is always present and ready to meet our needs. We don’t have to have the worst days ever. We can have peace because God is faithful, even at the edge of the sea, in a meatless land, and by a dry rock.
God, I thank you that I can rely on you in all seasons. Help me to remember how near you are to me and to fully depend on you. Amen.