Deuteronomy 29 is the most wonderful chapter on God’s care for His children, and it has the grimmest warning for those who have experienced God’s care.
The Israelites had seen and experienced the trials that came in following God and the wonderous ways God delivered them from the trials (verses 2 and 3). They had also experienced God’s provision and care for them, even in their unbelief, during a forty-year journey through life, as nomads wandering through a rough terrain (verses 4 and 5). In this chapter, Moses is reminding them that they are God’s people (verses 12 and 13) and issues a dire warning for one group of people.
In verse 19, Moses talks about the person who HEARS God’s word – the warnings and the blessings and congratulates himself. The literal translation of the Hebrew phrase used here is, “he blesses himself in his heart.” That is, as another translation words it, “he INVOKES a blessing on himself.” This person says to himself or herself that they do not need God to bless them, they can do the work God does in their lives themselves or they can do it even better than God can. Then the person THINKS that he or she will be safe even though they PERSIST in going their own way. That is, they continuously work for their personal benefit with their own human strength and they think they will be safe from God’s judgement. But the Lord says that He will be furious at the person who works for his or her own personal benefit, after experiencing God’s care for them.
We cannot work for our personal benefit without trampling or destroying others in the way by manipulating, coercing, or causing physical harm to them. After experiencing God’s care, if we reject God and pursue our own selfish desires, then woe is us! We are faking following God rather we are following ourselves.
On the other end, if you find yourself stuck under a person who claims to follow Jesus but is only pursuing his or her own personal welfare, then pray for wisdom, discernment, and God’s protection from them. And pray for God to deliver you from such a person.