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Daily Devotional • May 16

Melissa McKinney
Lifting Up
A Reading from Deuteronomy 8:11-20

11 “Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes that I am commanding you today. 12 When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them 13 and when your herds and flocks have multiplied and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock. 16 He fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you and in the end to do you good.17 Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 But remember the Lordyour God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today. 19 If you do forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the Lord is destroying before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

This week we talk about the ascent of Christ and how, in Christ, humanity itself is lifted up  despite a distorted self-lifting that resists the kingdom of God. Yesterday, we discussed the paradoxical nature of the cruciform life. As Christ demonstrated in his humility and the carrying of his cross, descent precedes ascent for both Christ and his followers. Today we will talk about God’s warning against a wrong kind of lifting up of humanity.

Our passage in Deuteronomy speaks to the people of God as they are entering the Promised Land. They have just come out of the wilderness. God has just reiterated the Ten Commandments. This passage is God’s reminder to his people that they should live as he commands because it was him who freed them from slavery and provided for them in the desert. He knows that they are about to head into a more prosperous life in the Promised Land, and so he instructs them to remember from whom their blessings and prosperity come. God warns his people against allowing their hearts to be “lifted up” in pride as if they were the ones who have provided for themselves. He instructs them not to forget him. He advises them against letting their hearts be elevated in a way that leads to death and destruction.

This is a very relevant message, especially in light of modern culture’s elevation of “self-made” men and women and our emphasis on upward mobility. 

Prayerfully consider: In what ways might you be exalting yourself or taking credit for God’s provision and blessing in your life? In what ways might you be forgetting God?

Melissa Amber McKinney is a Pittsburgh native, a writer, and an M.Div. student at Trinity School for Ministry. She works as an afterschool nanny and the music leader at Mosaic Anglican Church in Imperial, Pennsylvania. 

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Swaziland – The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah, Georgia
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