“Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day." Deuteronomy 8:11-18.
These words were spoken by Moses to God's people as they were about to enter the promised land. It had been a hard 40 years in the wilderness, but now the promise of rest in the land of Canaan was within sight. This would be a prosperous place for them to live. God had promised to drive out all their enemies from the land and settle them in towns and cities. They would have wealth in silver and gold, flocks and herds.
But God knows there is a problem with us when we have plenty, and it is a problem about which he warned His people. The danger was that they would "forget the Lord." The danger was that they would start to look highly upon themselves, and not thank God. "Look at all the enemies we have defeated. Look at how successful we have been with our flocks and herds and with acquiring wealth for ourselves." This is an easy trap for any of us to fall into.
Moses is reminding them that it is the Lord who brought them out of Egypt, cared for them in the wilderness, and is giving them this land. We must also remember that it is the Lord's hand that gives us all things, and He promises to continue to do that. Afterall, He even sent Jesus to die for our sins. "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). As we give thanks this year, let us not be filled with generic feelings of thankfulness. Let us not focus on ourselves and what our hands have accomplished. Instead, let us "remember the LORD your God," and give Him all thanks and praise.