American Parallels with Deuteronomy 8

Read this and see if you think we as a nation or you as an individual fit in this text:

Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

I don’t think it is necessarily healthy to read yourself back into every text or think that this texts are talking directly about us. But I do think there are some interesting parallels. The one striking difference is that God has not called out America by name and established a covenant with us as a nation the way He had with them or made us any specific promises as a group. But I think the basic human tendencies that God saw as a threat to the well-being of a well provided for people are the same for us today.

[incredibly long sentence warning] – We fall into the same trap they did because it is human nature that once we get comfortable and satisfied and begin to make decisions on how to use what God has entrusted to us, somehow we get the misguided notion that all we have really does belong to us instead of recognizing that it all came from God and that someday all we possess will have someone else’s name on it.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

3 Responses to American Parallels with Deuteronomy 8

  1. Tim Archer says:

    This isn’t unique to the U.S., of course, but as one of the world’s most prosperous countries, we’re definitely vulnerable in this area. An attitude of gratitude is hard to develop.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. David Combs says:

    Hear! Hear!

  3. K. Rex Butts says:

    While I don’t think God ever intended this passage (or any other biblical passage) to be a dual prophesy, one of which refering to the US, it is easy for certain aspects of religious America to read their national history into passages…because by doing such, they believe their national history is sanctified and blessed by God. The problem is that those same people never want to read passages from, say Jeremiah or Amos, as a dual prophesy (are they too afraid to admit that their revered national history could and will come to an end?). It seems a bit inconsistent to accept the “blessing” passages as a direct word about country and/or self but not the “curse” passages.

    Grace and peace,


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