If Something Is Available To Us Is That The Same As We Deserve It?

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

How many times do we hear on the TV or radio that the product being advertised is one that “you deserve to have?”  For instance, Lasik (the laser eye treatment) is now better than ever so you can have the eyesight you deserve.

Here are some other examples I found in an article on a Google search (italics added):

“”You deserve Virgin Mobile.”

“You deserve NEW, NOW!” shouts a billboard for a housing development in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The most original people deserve the most original vodka,” reads the tagline on a series of ads for Stoli.

Weight-loss products from motivational speaker Tony Robbins claim to give you “the body you deserve” (thin and healthy).

A 2012 book from the popular financial writer Suze Orman promises “the future you deserve” (rich and happy).”

Skipping the Internet and going “old school” I used a thing called a Dictionary to look up what “deserve” means. It says, “to be worthy of or entitled to” and the word “deserved” means “merited; earned.”

So what is my “beef” about this morning? It’s about the UN-deserved attitude of entitlement that people have today which is promulgated and enforced by advertising. The air waves bring us the news (fake and designed to disturb) as well as the TV shows we watch, whether you have cable, satellite or stream them. And who is in charge of the air waves? If you’re asking me (and I assume you are) it is not ABC, or CBS or CNN- it is the one who the Bible tells us is in charge of the air, the Prince of the Air…Satan! (Ephesians 2:2)

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and my attitude toward people is highly influenced by what I was conditioned to think watching TV as a child. Yes, I used the word “conditioned” because that is what advertising does to us. Nearly 1/3 of every hour of TV is advertising and we watch hours of TV every day. That equates to hundreds of hours of advertising every year. I was in Sales for about 15 years and learned that the career most closely related to sales is psychology. One of the most important lessons I ever learned as a sales professional is that people don’t buy what they need, they buy what they want, and sales is a means of making people think what you have is what they want. The advertising focus when I grew up was that a product was needed and helpful, but now it is focused not on needing the product but deserving it. When we deserve something we think “I want what I deserve; I want what I have earned; I want what I am entitled to have- give me what is mine!”

This pseudo entitlement goes beyond just products and services- it can even influence our spiritual position. People think that they are entitled to be saved, that they have earned their salvation because they go to church every Sunday or keep a Kosher house (although they don’t stay Kosher outside the home.)  People think that they deserve to have what they want because that is what they are told (over and over) every 20 minutes while watching TV. The message that sticks in our self-absorbed and hedonistic brains is this: if I want it I deserve it! The result is that people believe because God made salvation free to have that I deserve it, I am entitled to it and I don’t have to do anything to keep it.

No, you aren’t and yes, you do! None of us automatically deserves anything. Even though salvation is free to all who ask, we don’t deserve it and we aren’t entitled to it. And we have to work hard to keep it. Salvation is here for us to have ONLY because God is gracious and loving. And very, VERY merciful.

Moses tells the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 9:6 they aren’t in the land because they deserve it but because the other nations have so terribly sinned that God is ejecting them.  He further tell them that they are stiff-necked and if (and when) they also reject God they will also be thrown out of the land.

This message isn’t just for the children of Israel going into the land- it is for every single one of us today.  Salvation comes through faith, and faith must be based on a humble and repentant attitude. We need to ask for forgiveness and we need to ask for salvation- we are not deserving or entitled to it. But because of the conditioning from advertising which we are constantly and inescapably exposed to, we begin to think that we are entitled to everything.

I am not saying that we should get rid of all advertising- we can’t. Advertising is an essential thing to have so that we can know what products and services are available to us. What I am suggesting is that we use discretion and common sense when we are exposed to advertising. And we definitely need to point out to our children how wrong are many of the things advertisers try to tell us. We need to remember that what we are told by people selling things is focused on our sinful nature- there is not one moment of advertising I can think of which appeals to our better nature, other than animal rescue commercials. Maybe those commercials that ask for funding of charitable organizations, too, but other than that it is all about me me me and what I deserve to have.

Today’s message is that you must stay humble in the light of your remarkable amount of entitlement; remain steadfast and frugal despite the fact that you deserve to have so many of these wonderful products. Remember that you really don’t deserve anything other than that which you have worked for. Salvation is something we ask for and receive freely, but it takes a lot of work to keep it. We have to live our lives for God and not for self in a world that is all about self. That, my friends, is hard work. And if you stay the course, keep your eyes focused on your eternal reward and not just something that you can get from E-Bay then you will do well.

You don’t deserve salvation and you aren’t entitled to happiness or peace of spirit, but you can have it for free because God is gracious and loving. And once we accept it we then need to work hard to keep it. Just like the land God promised to Abraham’s descendants, they received it as God’s gift but once there they had to deserve to stay in it by obeying God.

Things are no different today.


Parashah D’Varim (the words) Deuteronomy 1 – 3:22

We are in the last of the 5 books of the Torah. This is where Moshe (Moses) reviews with the people the last 40 years of wandering, their laws and regulations, the history of their travels, warnings to stay true to God and His teachings (the correct meaning of the word, “Torah”) and his song and blessing of the people.

It has been nearly 41 years (this discourse starts on the first day of the eleventh month of the 40th year) since the rebellion at Horeb when the people refused to enter the land, and Moses recounts the fact that he assigned judges over the people to help him, the rebellion at entering the land, the decades of wandering and then, as they re-approached the land the Lord’s command that the Israelites should not battle against certain of their brothers (the Edomites, for example) but will destroy others, such as Og and Sihon. Then he told how those lands were given to the tribes of Gad, Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh but they would still fight with Israel in the land until all the land was settled. He told Joshua to be brave and to boldly enter the land knowing that God would go before them to conquer the peoples so that Israel would inherit and rule the land.

This final book is the epilogue of the life’s work of the greatest prophet in Judaism. Throughout it we will review all that happened to the children of Israel during their wanderings, constantly reminding them of the way that God had taken care of them despite the many times they rebelled and showed faithlessness. This is a review, a warning, a condemnation and a confirmation of the unique and blessed position that the children of Israel have with God.

What is important here, I believe, is that when anyone who worships God reads this, they should think of their own life. We wander through life, don’t we? Whereas the Israelites wandered at the command of God, we wander at our own command. We go from job to job, house to house, and (unfortunately, in today’s society) we also go from marriage to marriage. We wander, often aimlessly and not even knowing it, just as the Jews wandered in the desert.

And, just like them, we have God protecting and providing for us. However, the Israelites could see the rock give water, the birds gather, and the manna on the ground every morning. They saw the sea split open and the Glory of God on Mount Sinai. They could clearly and unmistakably see the miracles of God happening in their lives.

We don’t. Really, when was the last time you saw a rock split open so you could drink? Do you think that you would eat something off the ground while walking to work? Probably not.

But that doesn’t mean God isn’t providing for you. If you sit down and think, you might come to the same conclusions I have for my own life:

* when I was going from job to job, God provided all those jobs;

* when I was going through divorce, even though I wasn’t a Believer, He still kept me sane (OK, that is an arguable point), provided enough for me to survive and see my children 2 states away every weekend;

* when I met Donna God brought us together despite the worst first date ever;

* when I changed careers, God provided good people to mentor me;

* over 18 years ago, when I sought Him out, God showed me that I can be a Jew, and saved, and still be a Jew. God’s leading my wandering led me to people who helped me realize who and what Yeshua is, and that Yeshua saved me. God also led me to Messianic Judaism, which is what kept me saved. God provided all that for me. Baruch Ha Shem!!!

* God has given me salvation, the marriage I wanted with a wife whom I love more than life, a good job, financial and emotional security, friends, and even though there is still Tsouris in my life, God has carried me through it all.

This is what we can learn from this parashah; in fact, from this entire book of the Torah: God is always there, He is always helping and providing, and He will continue to do so. We may wander here and there, to and fro, but God is steady. He is always watching, never sleeping, and will care for those who care for Him. Even when we are in rebellion and He punishes us, it is not so much punitive as it is restorative- God punishes us so that we will turn back to Him. I know it sounds a little crazy, I mean really? You want me to come back to you so you send trouble on me? Yes, that is how it works with God because the reason for our rebellion is that we think we are in charge. We think that we can get it done on our own, taking care of “Numero Uno”, and all that garbage. God pulls the rug out from under us and makes us fall on our back so that the only way we can look is up-  at Him. And while there, trying to catch our breath and hurting, we have to look at Him and maybe, just maybe, doing that will remind us that it is God who can lift us up and keep us up, and that even though we wander, if we wander the way God wants us to go (meaning obeying Torah as we go) He will be there to protect and provide.

Do you ever just stop and review your life? Never, never, never do so with regrets or wondering about , “What if I had…..” because that will never move you forward. We need to remember the past, but try to filter out the dreck and recall mostly the stuff that helps us to keep going. Don’t dwell on the bad things but remember them as having passed, and recognize that you got through it because God was helping you through it.

Review your life and remember the good with the bad, but remember the bad as what God helped you through and the good as what God has, and will continue, to do for you.