“For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.” (11:10-12)
An agricultural thing to note is how Egypt was built in irrigation systems, stemming from the Nile. This source of life is large in part why the Nile was adored as a deity.
By contrast, the Promised Land is not conducive for irrigation. Egypt is flat, Canaan is mountainous. Therefore, it depends on rain. It should come as no surprise, then, that the main gods of Canaan were “rain deities”. Sacrificing to appease them would hypothetically result in rain, subsequently resulting in good crops.
This naturally leads into a very important command:
“Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.” (11:16)
The LORD makes it abundantly clear HE is the source was of the rain. There will arise very real temptations to follow the locals into their worship practices.
What is the solution to not forget this important command? Put reminders everywhere!
“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,” (11:18-20)
Jews still do this with Mezuzahs. They are little doorpost scrolls containing the Shema (Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One). Sometimes I wish I could be a Messianic Jew, because so many things like this are awesome (I guess who is stopping me from adopting stuff like this?). All the festivals, reminders, rituals for purity and unity, that stuff is still super helpful for a healthy spiritual life.
What could be a good practice for you? How can you remind yourself of The True Source of blessing and good gifts? When you’re in times of “drought”, what keeps you from going to other popular sources?