Following God all the way through
“All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers. You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.” Deuteronomy 8:1-6 From the text, God was speaking to the people of Israel and He was telling them how important it was to be obedient to God’s commands. God led them out from Egyptian bondage and led them in the wilderness. They were on a journey to the Promised Land. While in the wilderness, they had experienced God’s faithfulness through His protection and provision. Yet there were several instances that they did not demonstrate their faithfulness to God. This was manifested when they will not trust God when they were about to enter the Promised Land. They ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years and while they were there, God continued to be faithful. Their refusal to enter the Promised Land manifested that they truly did not know God. If they believed Him, they could have trusted Him and became obedient to His command. God used their experience in the wilderness wandering to help them believe God. They went through several trials while there and their response to these trials revealed what was really in their heart. God allows trials and difficulties in life so you could know what is in your heart. Difficult circumstances will show how strong your faith is to God. “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:3). He allows trials so you could deepen your relationship with Him. When there is no one to turn to except God, your hunger for His provision becomes your priority. Your trust in Him deepens, thus, your dependence upon Him gets stronger. God told the Israelites that “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). You can only grow so much in your knowledge of God as long as you continue to hunger for His Word. Once the Israelites realized the purpose of testings and the way God disciplines, they were able to enter the Promised Land. They listened to God’s Word and this resulted to amazing victories. If you are going through trials right now, what do they reveal in your life? Are you bitter to Him because of the circumstances you are facing? Or do you trust Him more that you are willing to be led by Him no matter where these trials will bring you?
Noel De Guzman Westside Baptist Church Los Angeles, CA