Deuteronomy 32:15 “But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (NKJV)
Who is Jeshurun? In Hebrew it was a poetic title that meant “upright one” or “righteous one”. At the end of Mose’s life, God was revealing to him how the people of Israel would grow fat and happy on the blessings of God and then forsake the Lord. It is the age-old sinful nature of mankind to let prosperity and abundance choke out our love for God and our dependency on Him.
It is the natural tendency of righteous people
to allow the blessing to supplant the One who blesses.
Material blessings are a gift from God to be enjoyed (Ecc. 5.19-20). But the heart is to be guarded ever more closely as prosperity increases lest it wrestle your trust away from God (Matt 19.23). Prosperity is a gift… but better poor with God, than rich without Him (Prov 28.6).
In the last few chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses is dying and God is warning the people of the consequences of becoming prosperous, lazy and hedonistic. Wickedness is the result of forsaking God for wealth and comfort. It should serve as a stern warning at this point in human history when we enjoy the highest standard of living ever.
When prosperity results in complacency and laziness, our character suffers and obedience typically wanes. As our security is transferred to a bank account, our focus becomes the continuation of comfort and ease of living. This process is the natural tendency of a sinful heart.
What is the end result? We grow lazy and kick against God. This laziness speaks of both physical idleness and spiritual apathy. We don’t need God anymore. We “kick” against God in the sense that we don’t want to go back to depending on Him which is hard work; and we rebel against God’s chastisement.
How often have your children kicked against you when it is time for chores instead of watching TV? How often have you kicked against God when He convicts you to study the Bible and that means giving up recreation time? How frequently do you kick against the Lord when prayer or the pursuit of money are your two options?
Ultimately, without extreme diligence, prosperity will lead to forsaking God and “scornfully esteeming” the Rock of your salvation, Jesus Christ. To scorn is to have an open disrespect or to intensely dislike something. Esteem, as a verb, means to “look on and consider”. Taken together, to “scornfully esteem” means to look on and consider with an obvious disrespect and intense dislike.
Prosperity can lead to an open
disrespect and dislike of Jesus Christ.
Why? For the person who has transferred his trust and desire to material blessing, Jesus Christ represents the Person who is asking you to give up your riches. This could mean a physical release of wealth, but more importantly, a spiritual change in what you trust: money or God.
Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (NKJV)
The young rich man who asked Jesus for eternal life had put his trust in material blessings instead of the God who had provided them. Now Jesus was asking him to give it all up because the Lord knew what stood between the young man and God.
The natural sinful tendency of man is to disdain anyone who takes away what is “ours”. If you have grown fat (lazy and lethargic) in prosperity and are kicking (rebellion or disobedience) against God, you face the dilemma of scornfully esteeming your Savior who is calling you to forsake all and take up the cross.
Wealth, prosperity, material blessing, abundance, riches, comfort, luxury… whatever name it goes by – is a gift from God to be enjoyed and used in service to Him. It is never to become your hope. It’s comfort is never to become your focus. Your faith and trust are never to be in the gift instead the Giver.
Be careful you don’t become “fat and kicking” lest you forsake God and scornfully esteem the Rock of your salvation.
Readers, what are some ways we can be on guard against “materialism”? Share your thoughts on the message boards. Go here…
Heavenly Father, every good gift comes from You and we thank You that You have seen fit to bless people so unworthy as us. We pray for Your discernment and discipline that we may never become fat and rebellious and scornfully esteem Your Blessed Son in whose name we pray. Amen
Contemplation: Are you rich? In the Bible the idea of being rich was having more than was needed for one day’s living. In light of that, are you rich? How much of your focus and devotion is on the accumulation of material blessing? Does your pursuit of God come anywhere close to your pursuit of wealth, comfort and prosperity?
Application: Material blessings are a gift from God to be enjoyed and used for Him. But because of our sinful hearts, prosperity can quickly consume us and become our god, resulting in the “scornful esteem” of our Savior. We are VERY good at deceiving ourselves on this issue. Pray to God that He would reveal where your heart is today concerning this.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?