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What to Watch Out for When You Enter the Promised Land

Do You Know The Greatest Danger Of God’s Blessings In Your Life?

Sometimes our blessings get piled so high, it’s difficult to see around them. Blessings are ours in abundance—and tempt us to forget God. Of course, this is nothing new.

What to Watch Out for When You Enter the Promised Land

(Photo: At the Plains of Moab, where Israel received God’s warning. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

At the Plains of Moab by the Jordan River, the redeemed Hebrew nation anticipated entering Canaan. There the Lord issued them an important warning:

When the Lord your God brings you into . . . great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied. Then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. —Deuteronomy 6:10-12

Notice God’s emphasis by the repeated phrase: “which you did not.” The blessings His people would receive would come from God’s hand—not from their own wits or wisdom.

Moses warned his people of the greatest danger from God’s blessings: to forget God.

We have that same vulnerability, don’t we?

God’s Blessings Can Blind You

Recently, I finally got around to reading Ann Voskamp’s celebrated book, One Thousand Gifts. Honestly, at first, the book felt hard to read. Short sentences. Choppy phrases. Random-sounding thoughts strung together like a patchwork quilt. It reminded me of Pascal’s Pensees. Profound but disjointed. Not an easy speed-read.

The book has more periods per square inch than most books I’ve read. As a person in a hurry, the many periods came like speed bumps—forcing me to slow down.

When I did, I found a surprise.

Every breath’s a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy. —Ann Voskamp

Sunset over Israel from Plains of Moab

(Photo: Sunset over Israel from Plains of Moab. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

How to See God’s Blessings You Can’t See

The book reminded me that gratitude begins and continues by giving thanks for God’s blessings right in front of you. Ann did this by writing a list of 1000 “gifts” from daily life for which she is thankful.

So, I gave it a shot. Here are 10 of the blessings I jotted down:

  1. The love that dogs show
  2. Music that inspires worship
  3. The changing seasons
  4. Silence of early mornings
  5. Israel trips
  6. Fingers to type with
  7. Meetings that start on time
  8. God gives strength to go on when I can’t
  9. Receiving clear direction
  10. My wife and daughters

Writing the list is a wonderful idea because it causes you constantly to look for new additions for the list. This daily assignment shapes a renewed mind, habitually searching life for reasons to thank God instead of finding excuses to complain about.

There are thousands of gifts from God if we will only insert many more periods in the sentences of each day.

But there’s a danger. Remember Moses’ warning?

The Greatest Danger of God’s Blessings in Your Life

Unless we watch ourselves, we will allow our blessings to distract us from our devotion to Jesus Christ. Before we know it, we can replace a devotion to the Lord with a devotion to His blessings. And in a sad, twisted irony, those blessings become our focus instead of the God who gave them.

Our blessings surround us. But they come from God.

Tell me what you think: What helps you keep your blessings in perspective? To leave a comment, just click here.

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