Americans: Change Your Perspective

I’ve been reading the Bible in chronological order. Tonight as I read Deuteronomy 2:7, I stopped and thought, “Wait, what did Moses just say?”

“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”

Lacked nothing? For 40 years the Israelites had nothing but the clothes on their backs (miraculously preserved, Deut. 8:4), manna and water. Lacked nothing? Are you hearing me? God’s perspective (through Moses) = they lacked nothing. THEY ATE THE SAME THING FOR 40 YEARS!

This parallels with the Sermon on the Mount where the only things Jesus mentions as needs are food and clothing:

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matt. 6:31-32

I just keep thinking, “I am so American. I am so ridiculously selfish and short-sighted.” God knows my needs and He considers my needs to be only food, drink, and clothing. How he must look at me when I complain that I don’t have the comforts that I want! How much do even the middle-class in our society border on God’s standards of repulsive self-indulgence?

I’m not trying to say that all God is doing is looking at us and shaking His head in displeasure. I think He does have compassion on us, and I also think that Deuteronomy has reminded me that I can never blame God for not getting my wants, because He has always supplied my needs.

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3 thoughts on “Americans: Change Your Perspective

  1. Hello Alyssa;
    Yes, I agree that even as middle class people here in the USA, we are rich compared to the rest of the world, shoot, even some of our poor people would be rich in comparison, so long as they had enough to eat.
    I think that we need to be careful with this topic and seek the Lord and follow where He leads. I cannot imagine Moses, St. Paul, or St. John doing without a scribes kit in their day. Ink, quills and parchment or papyrus would have been fairly expensive, but I don’t think that any of us would say that it was not God’s will that they possess these things, since they were necessary for the writing of the scriptures.
    After all there are many who would proudly boast that they have given up everything to pursue God. I think I’ve heard Hare Krishnas brag about that a lot. So obviously just shedding your possessions is not the main thing.
    The main thing is to be sure that you are listening to God. If He says sell everything then certainly that is what you are to do. Of course, if He hasn’t told you that, and it bothers you to have so much, it could become an opportunity to seek the Lord about it. Having possessions also gives us an opportunity to be charitable and thankful.
    So it does not matter if we have something, a lot of something, or nothing. It only matters that we are rich in Him, humbly seek Him, and obey Him.
    We just need to ask Him what He wants us to do, and listen to what He tells us.

    Nathan

  2. Nathan,

    For the most part, I do agree with what you are saying. The attitude of the heart, which none of us can judge, is more important than the outward appearance of humility. I also do not believe that the gifts we are given should be shunned because of what others might think and say.

    My only concern with your reply is that this perspective can, for some people, turn into an excuse to live however they please because God hasn’t told them not to such and such, when they are ignoring things the Lord clearly defined in Scripture (e.g. Matthew 5-7).

    I really appreciate your comments and perspective; I am constantly learning and maturing in the Lord and I need others around me to assist in that process.

  3. Hello Alyssa;
    
I guess I was a little obscure in my earlier comment. When I said we should listen to the Lord, I was really quite serious. We have a number of impediments to hearing God in our culture. Bad teaching (that would be the idea that God does not speak to people anymore, or only to certain people), distraction (the cares of the world, etc.), a tendency to refuse to hear what God says if it contradicts what we want, or insisting that what we want is what God has told us, in which case we are only hearing what we want and not from Him, and unbelief. Yes unbelief is a big part of the reason people don’t hear Him, often we are taught that this just does not happen, also it is the general attitude of most people that God does not speak to people now days (and sometimes they think He never did in the first place). This is a comfortable stance for many, for it relieves them of the responsibility of responding to Him.

    I never meant to imply that Scripture should be ignored, I only mean that people usually do not go deep enough with God to wait on Him and hear Him. If you are hearing God and if you understand that it is truly Him (comparing it to Scripture, etc.) then you will find that you are not ignoring other Scriptures you are simply following what God is doing with you at the moment, besides who is to judge? If you have a tender conscience and you are humbly following what He is telling you, are you going to take someone seriously if they tell you not to do what He says?

    That sounds like the sort of thing a clergyman would tell you because he wants you to follow his agenda or instructions. Most of the clergymen I have met lately are not qualified to tell me whether I should cross the street or not (they are mostly tainted with a proud sort of “we (scholarly, educated people) now know better than to believe what Scripture says” attitude which unfortunately, they learn at seminary).

    So I am delighted to report that Jesus did not mean for you or me to have to rely on these unworthy, unbelieving leaders (wolves?), He is our Shepherd and if you find yourself in the situation I described above, He will teach you and lead you. We just need to ask Him what He wants to say to us, and quietly and humbly wait on Him and listen to what He tells us.

    Nathan

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