I taught parts of Deuteronomy in my Sunday School class this past Sunday. The class is with high school juniors and seniors. They are a great group (and not just because I brought donuts today). During Priesthood I wrote down the following thought:
I was struck by much of what I read in Deuteronomy. However, I was particularly drawn into the treatment of wealth in Chapter 8.
The chapter starts with Moses reminding the Israelites of their humbling experiences, as well as the care that the Lord provided the in the wilderness.
In verses 7-9, Moses paints a picture of the promised land which awaits them. In verse 9 has says that this will a “land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it…”
With it also being a “land of brooks of water” (v. 7) and “a land of oil olive, and honey,” Moses’ promised land sounds very similar to Rousseau’s depiction of nature.
In politics and economics we usually assume a certain amount of scarcity, so for me it is hard to imagine such conditions of abundance. Yet, this is a condition which will not last, because of the pride of man.
In verse 10, Moses instructs us to “bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.” When we partake of the Lords abundance, we must give him the credit.
However, this humility does not last as our hearts are “lifted up, and thou forget the Lord the God..”
We soon find ourselves in the condition described in verse 17:
“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.”
The condition described in verse 17 seems to describe a dominant form of thinking in modernity. Rousseau warns of the inequality, cruelty, and brutality that comes from such a view. However, this concern is also found in ancient scripture and philosophy.
Pride not only destroys our soul, but it leaves us numb to the well being of others. Beware of it.