The setting: Israel is at the Jordan River preparing to cross over into the Promised Land. The people of Israel had come full circle. They had been here before and had made a choice not to trust and believe God. They chose to believe man--the 10 spies that said they couldn’t make it in the new, promised land. Because of their choice, God made them wander in the wilderness for 40 years. The adults would miss out on the Promised Land and the children would have to wait forty years to enter in.
During that 40 years God provided for them. Here in Deuteronomy, they are remembering their wilderness experience.
“And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these 40 years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna….” Deuteronomy 8:2-3a
God does this in my life. He allows me to hunger so He can feed me. He allows me to ______ so He can __________me. I can fill in these blanks with so many things. God has allowed me to feel pain so He can heal me. He allowed me to feel lonely so He could keep me company. He allowed me to cry so He could give me comfort. There are so many things I have gone through that in hindsight I can see how God used each and every one of them. He uses them for different reasons, sometimes so I will find Him and ask Him into my life and other times to call me into a new place in my life, or to call me back to Him.
What God doesn’t do, is to use these sins and choices of mine to punish me. He never gives me what I deserve in regards to my sin, if He did, I would be dead. He is a merciful God and He gives me grace, love and forgiveness.
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103.10
“…but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Hebrews 12:10b
The other part of the verse…”to humble and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Deuteronomy 8
I believe it is in our trails that our true character shows. Some people I have known go right back to their former lives when hard times come. If they were addicted to something in the past, that’s right where they go. Other people I have known really press into God, small groups and community when they encounter trials. This is one way for God to know our true heart. It’s also how God develops us into maturity.
“He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10b
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
He disciplines us for our good that we may share His holiness. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want. I want His holiness. I want perseverance to finish its work in me so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. I want to bring God glory in all I do, say, think and feel.
So, my friends when you encounter difficulties remember; God allows you to hunger so He can feed you. He wants nothing more than for us to share His holiness. We are created in His image and we have the Holy Spirit inside of us and Jesus walks beside us every step of the way. Trust Him and believe Him, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, He will not leave us or forsake us. He will not fail us. Where ever He brings us, He can keep us. He will feed us.