Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the Lord ’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. – Deuteronomy 11:16-21
God will shut up the heavens so it will not rain — the definition of a drought, but a drought from God’s living water that can refresh our soul in a way unlike any earthly water can. What God is telling the Israelites is something he has told them before…remember. God tells the Israelites, and us, to put so many reminders of God’s love for us in our lives that we cannot forget. I am sorry to say that I am not sure attending 3 church services a week is what God had in mind. I could be wrong, but it seems one should ask oneself, is the investment of time and treasure I am making helping me remember God’s love? This is a little bit like a personal “Meribah test“.
However we choose to “fix these things in our hearts and minds” we must stay connected to the spring and planted by the river to be successful in our walk with God as Christians. Have you ever felt like you were spinning your wheels in your Christian walk? I know I have at times and it is often traceable to a disconnection from spending time with God — fixing things about God in my heart and mind. I often operate on auto pilot, just doing the things that are familiar and comfortable. For me it helps if I intentionally step outside traditions at times to force my reliance on God. This does not include stepping into sin of course, but into places where I feel God calling me where I may not want to go.
This passage says we will be enticed to turn away, it will be tempting and easy compared to the path of following God which can be hard and even discouraging at times. I have known people who seemed to careen from one life disaster to the next. These people seemed to be earnestly following God, but somehow they were disconnected from the spring and the heavens were not giving them rain. I am not sure how these people fit into the picture of this passage. I am content to accept this gap in my understanding for the moment, perhaps God will provide insight further along in the journey.
What I glean from this passage is that if I want to have consistent “rain from the heavens” so I can be “productive” in my Christian walk I need to: 1) be knowledgeable about what God said and what it means to me and those around me; 2) be open about my faith in God, not in a “bible thumper” sort of way, but as a confident, loving, expression of who I am am and Who animates my life; 3) share what I know about God with my children often and in all parts of my life; 4) make it clear that my household and everything in it belongs to God.
Prayer: God help me to fix your words and the knowledge of who You are in my heart and mind so that I can boldly share this part of my life with others.