Many people, these days, often wonder, “what does the future hold for us?” because of the constant turmoil. Many want to know what tomorrow holds yet they do not know where to turn to find answers. It has been said that depression is the sickness of the 20th and 21st Centuries. I want to challenge people to turn to the Word of God because the answers to all of the questions that you have are found there. In fact, God tells us that the future lies in our own hands. This does not mean that we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and do it on our own. It does mean that there are certain things that we can do to assure that our future is a bright one. As I have said, the answers lie in the Word of God, and therefore I would like to examine the Scriptures and see how the future lies in our hands and what exactly we need to do in order to have a future of assurance, so that we will not fall into the trap of depression and hopelessness.
1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
3 “Your eyes have seen what the LORD has done in the case of Baal-peor, for all the men who followed Baal-peor, the LORD your God has destroyed them from among you.
4 “But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you.
5 “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it.
6 “So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
7 “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?
8 “Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today ?
9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life ; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. (Deut. 4)
I would like to break this passage down bit by bit in order to learn how our future lies in our own hands. This is God’s message to His people, the children of Israel. He gives specific instructions to them on how to live in order to prosper as a nation. Theses are universal principles, even though they were given specifically to the Hebrew people. Any nation that desires to prosper in this world need only to apply what God teaches here and watch what happens. Maybe your nation is not interested in being obedient to God but you and your family can apply these principles and watch how your family prospers in the midst of a wicked generation.
The key to application is understanding the speaker of the message and the recipients. Moses is the speaker while it is God who is the author of the message. This is God’s wisdom given to His people.
I. You must respect God and be ready to obey His Word no matter what.
You cannot desire the benefits without totally dedicating yourself to Him. You must be ready and willing to follow God wherever He leads and be obedient to Him no matter the cost. If you will take this step and make this decision then God will step in and bless you beyond what you can imagine. Verses 1-2 tell us that we must hear and obey the Laws of God, His Word. In order to do this, we must know God’s Word, we must be students of God’s Word. We are called not just to be hearers but also doers. We learn from God’s Word and then take what we learn and apply it to our personal lives. You must not add anything to the Word of God (your own commands and laws, your own do’s and dont’s). His Word is enough, you do not need to help Him out. Also, you do not need to take away anything from God’s Word (pick and choose what you like and reject what you do not like). This is what many homosexuals try to do, remove the parts of the Bible that condemn homosexuality because they just do not agree with it, yet at the same time, try to call themselves “Christians”.
II. You must have a godly leader to follow, a person who is obedient to God and leads others to do the same.
God has given us His Word so that we will know Him and know what He wants from us. He has also equipped leaders to teach us the Word and motivate us, through their own personal examples, to apply the Word of God in our own lives. God raises up leaders in every generation, just like He did with Moses, to lead the people who want to be obedient to Him. Your local church has a leader (the pastor) who has been called by God to lead the people in obedience. Are you under the leadership of your pastor? The pastor will teach you to hold fast to the Lord all the days of your life so that you will live and prosper, so that your family will prosper as well.
III. Our motivation for obedience should be our personal experience with God.
The Hebrews saw how God blessed and protected them from all of their enemies. He led them through the most difficult of situations (even though they were very stubborn in following God) They also saw how God punished those who were disobedient to Him, so then, it would not make any sense to follow anyone or anything else other than God. Have you ever experienced the work of God in your life? Do you spend time in Bible study and prayer so that you can see the work of God in your life?
IV. The result of being totally dedicated to the Lord and obeying His Word is the fact that you will prosper in your land (verse 5).
If we obey God then He will protect us even if we live in the midst of a land full of enemies (that is what it was like for the Hebrews). We live in a world that is hostile toward God and toward His creation (mankind or in other words, each other) yet we can prosper and live in peace if we will follow God. Not only will we prosper but we will also have the wisdom of the Lord which will help us make wise choices, leading the people around us to want to know how we make such good choices and why everything we put our hands on seems to prosper (in fact does prosper). Psalm 1 says that with the righteous man (person who is right with God) ” in whatever he does, he prospers“. Also, another result of prospering in the land is that you will be able to see your children grow and then also raise their own children. Verse 9 ends with the fact that you are to make the ways of the Lord known to your children and grandchildren. What a privilege it is to see your children grow and walk with the Lord and your grandchildren also.
V. The passage ends with a warning that is very important to all of us.
After seeing God work, and after prospering, we may tend to relax and start trusting in ourselves and our own abilities, therefore God reminds the people “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life ; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons“. Watch over your heart so that you do not forget where you came from and all that God has done for you. Make sure you remember all of this so that you can pass it on to your children and grandchildren.
My dear friend, what place does the Word of God have in your life? Are you a diligent student of the Bible so that you can apply Its wisdom to your life and prosper? Do you have a spiritual leader who is teaching the Bible to you and showing you how to apply Its truths? My advice is to get a Bible, find a good spiritual mentor, dedicate yourself and your family to God and watch and see what amazing things happen.