TODAY’S READING Deuteronomy 8–10
God tends to test our memory. He humbles us and leads us through difficulties (Deut. 8:2) so that what is unimportant fades and what is critical remains. What is critical to God is that all nations experience His redemptive love. To forget what is most important to God is to forget Him (v. 11). God intends for the difficulties and the advantages of life to drive us towards His missions heart.
Why does God give us power to get wealth (v. 18)? That He might establish the covenant He swore to our fathers. What did He covenant with our fathers? To bless them, to make them a blessing, to bless all the people groups of earth through them. If we forget that, we forget the Lord our God (v. 19). If we forget that our wealth is for the singular purpose of God’s glory among all the nations, He won’t ask us to steward it long. If we forget that God wants us to be holy (set apart from the nations) so that He might woo the nations to Himself, it won’t be long before we realize that in being like the nations, we lose our distinctive, we lose our blessing, we lose the presence of Jehovah—we in effect lose it all. Why does God take wealth away? To remind us that we are to use our wealth to win the nations, not to join them.
Why does God make us strong? That His mighty power in us might win unreached peoples to Him because He is a consuming fire (9:3). Why does God make us weak? Why does He set us up against peoples greater and mightier than we are (v. 1)? That His mighty power in us might win the warriors to fight for Him. God makes us wealthy or poor, weak or strong, wise or foolish, healthy or sick so that “He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (v. 5). It is all about God. It is all about the God of missions. God chose our gender, our personality, our race, and our socio-economic start, rise, and fall for one purpose: His glory among all nations. God did not choose us because of any worth on our part; we like Israel have no inherent goodness that makes us useful. In fact, “Deuteronomy 9 makes the surprising case that Israel has no legitimate claim to the land at all. She has no greater righteousness than the nations. Indeed, the chapter stresses that if anybody deserved to be destroyed, it was Israel.” Bluntly, we use our strengths for Jehovah’s fame among the nations or He removes His blessing on them. Wonderfully, we give Jehovah our weaknesses and He magnifies Himself through them among all nations. What relief! Secure in how our Sovereign Creator has made us, we all can be used for His glory among all peoples.
No matter our status, there is one attribute of Jehovah we can all share, and that is His compassion for the lost. Moses assumes a role initiated by Abraham and completed by Christ—a priest and prophet who prays (9:9–11, 19, 25). Prayer needs no skill, no visa, no education, no natural strength. We can pray from prison, we can pray from our sick bed, and we can pray from hospice or heaven. When we intercede for the redemption of God for the Moroccan immigrants in Spain, the Father who listened to Moses will surely listen to us for the saving of lives. The God who loves us particularly (“delighted only in our fathers,” 10:15) shows no partiality (v. 17), for He is the God of the highest heavens and the farthest earth (v. 14) and He loves the strangers who live among us (v. 19). He is our praise (v. 21). He sent our fathers down to Egypt and now is fulfilling His promise to Abraham through us, making us as the stars of heaven in multitude (v. 22). This is our missionary God!
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grover, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 458.