Recently Deuteronomy 8 has been swirling around in my heart and mind. Let’s read a passage from that chapter:
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:1-3)
Many people are enduring times of testing time right now. In different ways, many of us are ‘going without’ things we are used to having or things we have taken for granted. For me, it’s food. I’m very limited with the kinds of food I’m able to digest. So, ‘manna’ for me is God’s grace to eat the same few foods day in and day out. And, sleep has come scarcely these days. But in my weakness, I know He is strong in me.
Maybe you’re used to having more money than you do now; or maybe it’s more time or space; less stress; better health; stronger relationships; a greater level of respectability; a title; a strong sense that people understand you; a job; a marriage; a best friend; a church; a strong sense of God’s direction.
Read these powerful, important words from Hebrews 12:26-27:
When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
Right now, what can be shaken is shaking, so that what cannot be shaken, can be clearly seen.
Money won’t save us.
Politicians won’t save us.
A good track record won’t save us.
All of our comforts—as much as we love them—make a lousy foundation.
Jesus alone is our only hope.
We are in a testing time as a nation and Believers are definitely feeling the sifting in their souls.
What does this have to do with the passage in Deuteronomy 8?
Here’s the parallel: Right now (much like the Israelites), I believe the Lord is allowing His people to go without certain things to test what is in our hearts. If we’re honest, we will admit that certain things surface in us when we don’t get our way.
God knows what’s in our hearts. He’s showing us what’s in our hearts. When we lose things we are used to having, we get a better sense of how mature our faith really is. Will we still obey the Lord? Will we continue to humble ourselves before Him? Not getting our way, tests our hearts, and reveals what’s inside of us. It’s a humbling process but God’s grace is sufficient for us.
He wants His people to stand strong during these turbulent times. And if our security is a false one, we will stumble and fall. Now is not the time to be grabbing for quick fixes to fill in the gaps of what’s missing in our lives. Now is the time to shift every hope onto the Rock of our Salvation.
What’s the manna for you and me? It’s the daily mercy and grace God offers us. Whatever we’re missing in our lives right now, God’s grace is more than enough to see us through. In fact, His grace is better for us than getting our way. His presence surpasses the surface satisfaction we enjoy when we get what we want; His Word actually delivers us from our earthbound tendencies and transforms us into people who are free and not bound by the things of this world.
And why is this important? Because we must learn in the core of our beings, that we don’t ‘get life’ from getting our way or from having what we want. We as Believers live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
We ‘go without’ so that we may learn to hunger more for Him.
In no matter what we lack—there’s a promise available to us.
We need to remember when our attitude flares or anxiety ruffles us, that there’s a WORD within God’s ‘every Word’ that’s specific to our situation.
The solution then, is not to get our way, but to trust in the all-knowing ways of the Lord and to mine the Scriptures that we might find the inheritance verse that speaks to our situation. He tests us and refines us that we might, more and more, find our deepest needs met in the object of our deepest desire. Jesus Himself.
He won’t let us go. He’s just teaching us to rely more on Him and less on the things of this world. He loves us so very much.