Wilderness?

The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes for the mouth of the Lord.  {Deuteronomy 8:1-3 esv}

Moses is speaking to the Israelites, instructing them with the same things he has before.  We all need reminding, don’t we?  In the prior chapters he has helped the people remember  what God has brought them through, how He has been so good to them.  He also calls them to obedience.  Deuteronomy, chapter 8 is opened by the instruction to be careful to do all that they have been commanded to do.  And you shall remember, Moses says.  Remember the whole way the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness.

He led them.  The Lord led them through the wilderness.

Often times in our wilderness, our desert, our times of seemingly wandering, we scream “God, where are you?!”  I suspect the Israelites asked that.  They believed that they had been brought to the desert only to die.  {Exodus 14:11-2, 16:3,7, 17:3}  Personally, in my wilderness, I tend to feel abandoned by God.  I quickly doubt He’s even there and fail to believe the truth of His Word, that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

When life is going well I ask few questions.  But when life brings trial and suffering I have a whole list of questions.  Most of my questions center around where and why.  Where is God?  and Why ( fill in the blank )?

So why this wilderness?  Why have we been here so long?    

And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you , testing you to know what was in your heart. {v. 2}

Humble you.  Testing you.  To know what was in your heart.  Has that proved true in your wilderness, past or present?  A resounding YES from me!  Have I been humbled {or being humbled}?  Check.  Has my heart been revealed?  Check.  Am I being changed as a result?  Most definitely.  So is it safe to say then that this wilderness is for my good?  I think so.

God led the Israelites through the wilderness to humble them, to test them to reveal what was in their heart.  In verse 3 Moses confirmed the Israelites humbling.  And he humbled you.  God accomplished what He set out to do.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna…that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  {8:3}  God humbled the Israelites by putting them in a place of need.  Matthew Henry writes, “God often brings his people low, so that he may have the honor of helping them.”  They were hungry.  They needed sustenance.  God supplied that. They had come to a point where they were completely dependent of Him.  There was no where else to turn.  Nothing else to do.  To quote Matthew Henry again, “the extremity of [the Israelites] want [made] the supply more acceptable, and God’s goodness to them therein the more remarkable.”  When I’m at a place where the Lord lets me hunger, then when He feeds me His goodness is that much greater.  

Remember the whole way the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness.  To humble you, reveal your heart, let you hunger, and feed you.  I get this.  I’m there.  Right in the middle of the wilderness.  Wandering but getting nowhere, so it seems.  But the Lord is doing a great work.  The humiliating heart reveal is unpleasant and painful.  But His goodness is remarkable.  He supplies everything so that I know it all comes by Him.

 

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