God is our righteousness and the one in whom we trust. Israel needed this reminder when they were about to enter the promised land. Easy to forget. And we get the benefit of their reminder, which is good for our generation, whose confidence is often in itself…
5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
7 Remember this and never forget how you aroused the anger of the Lord your God in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the Lord.
16 When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the Lord your God; you had made for yourselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the Lord had commanded you.
23 And when the Lord sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You did not trust him or obey him.
Deuteronomy 9:5-7, 16, 23
God continually dealt with the pride of Israel, even on the verge of entering the promised land. It was God’s promise and God’s land, and the people were not to think it was their righteousness which was earning them the land.
In fact, God pointed out the wickedness of the inhabitants of the land as part of his reason. And to underscore his point, God referred back to the sin of Israel to ensure thy were not resting to heavily on their own righteousness.
Israel had sinned against God by creating the golden calf to worship while Moses was on the mountain receiving the ten commandments. They had sinned against God by turning in fear when spies came back from assessing the land which God promised to them. Their focus on themselves had interfered with their trust and hope and reverence for God…
Uh-oh… that’s getting too close to home now. Isn’t that what happens to us? We let fear and self-centredness interfere with our trust in God sometimes, don’t we? And other times we think too much of ourselves and we somehow believe our righteousness is the reason God is blessing us.
God is the reason. God is our righteousness. God is the one in whom we ought to trust. Easy to forget. God reminded Israel. And we get the benefit of the reminder…