Not Because of Your Righteousness [Deuteronomy9]
1"Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, 2a 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?' 3"Know therefore today that it is the LORD your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the LORD has spoken to you. 4"Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you. 5"It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6"Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people.
Have you ever been offered a second chance? The children of Israel were on the brink of entering the promised land for the second time. These men had been children the first time they were supposed to enter and I am sure they remembered the story. Did their fathers sit around the camp fire and discuss their mistakes? Or did they pass on to their children their own rationalizations? "The people were great, the men were tall. We aren't used to fighting and we could never have defeated them."
God through Moses wanted to dispel their fear. What they needed to remember was that they had been and still were a very stubborn people. Moses painstakingly spoke of each major event, where they as a nation rebelled against God's goodness and righteousness. He did that because to live by the law required one to remember their sin in order to learn to not repeat it. But even to this nation trying to live by the law God offered His grace. He offered His strength, power and forgiveness in order for them to enter the new land. God was not giving them this land (a gift, totally undeserved) because of their righteousness, He was giving it because of His own character. What they needed to know, so that fear would be dispelled and replaced by faith, was the God loved them and was going to go before them as a consuming fire, even when they were dirt bags (self absorbed and stubborn).
We praise You God that Your character never changes. Your love is never based on our actions. You love us because we are flawed. You offer forgiveness and power to live in a new place. You offer for us to live by Your strength not by our righteousness (or attempts to be right). Thank You for Jesus. His death and resurrection are the fulfillment of Your forgiveness and power toward us. (Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8) Today, by grace, cause us to enter the land of rest You are offering to enable us to go in to.