A Warning Against Self Righteousness

On November 25, 1895, in Leadville, Colorado the cornerstone was laid for the largest ice palace ever built in America. In an effort to bolster the town’s sagging economy, the citizens staged a winter carnival. On New Year’s Day of 1896, the town turned out for the grand … More


In this chapter Moses turns his attention to two of Israel’s problems, pride and self-righteousness. Instead of receiving the blessings of the Promised Land as unmerited gifts of grace, Israel felt they deserved the land. The reason is not given; perhaps it was because they felt it was promised to them, or because of some good work they had done. The time had come to possess the land (vv. 1-3). The enemies dwelt in cities that were superior is size and strength, yet the Lord promised to destroy them.

Moses reminds the Israelites that it is not because they are righteous that they will be victorious but because of the wickedness of the nations they are to conquer. In fact Moses gives three reasons why they will be victorious:

  1. Because of the wickedness of the nations. (v. 4)
  2. Because God had promised victory to the patriarchs. (v. 6)
  3. Because of pure grace in spite of their stubborn spirit. (v. 5)

God reminds Israel of her rebellion (vv. 7-11). They began rebelling the day they left their Egyptian captors. Moses tells how he spent 40 days and nights fasting (v. 9). The people in the land were wicked and ripe for judgement. Moses was addressing a new generation, but they needed to hear this part of the message and realize that they were sinners just like their ancestors.


Lord, I want your goals to be my goals in life and not something that soon passes away.

Deuteronomy 9:1-11 (English Standard Version)

"Hear, O Israel: you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the LORD your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you. "Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. "Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD. Even at Horeb you provoked the LORD to wrath, and the LORD was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you. When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. And the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words that the LORD had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. And at the end of forty days and forty nights the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant."

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