Humbling experience while in the wilderness
“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
God has His reasons why He allows difficulties and hardships to come to your life. Oftentimes, Christians tend to think that once you become a child of God, life will be easy. From the text, God told the Israelites that He allowed them to wander through the wilderness for forty years in order to humble them and test them. Then when they were about to enter the Promised Land, they refused to obey Him. They did not enter the Promised Land and this revealed what was in their hearts; they did not really know Him which was why they did not trust Him. If they knew who God was, they would have had more faith in Him. Again, the Israelites spent the next forty years wandering in the wilderness. Instead of experiencing the rest that God prepared for them in the Promised Land, they preferred to wander aimlessly in the wilderness. It is important that Christians learn from this experience of the Israelites. They have tasted God’s blessings and goodness while in the wilderness, yet they will still not believe Him. They heard His word, yet still will not obey Him. “For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed” (Hebrews 4:2). The group that Moses led in the wilderness did not enter rest in the Promised Land. God brings you to your wilderness and wants you to trust Him. Testing reveals what is in your heart and produces a strong faith (James 1:3, 12). God brought them to the wilderness so that they would realize that their lives depended upon His Word and not just on material provision. They learned that God’s Word was the most important thing they had. After Joshua took over leading the Israelites, the people listened when God spoke, and they believed. They trusted God and His word that when they finally entered the Promised Land they were resolved to listen to Him more. As a result God led them to an amazing victory. In times of testings, do you find yourself trusting Him and His word? Do testings reveal significant flaws in your relationship with God and what have you done about these flaws? Are you resentful toward God because you feel that He has left you in your wilderness? Or have you come to trust Him more and you know that He is there with you during times of trials?
Noel De Guzman Westside Baptist Church Los Angeles, CA