BLOG 2 for January 19, 2012
Amplified Bible (AMP)
1ALL THE commandments which I command you this day you shall be watchful to do, that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers.
2And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty 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.
3And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
First of all, a couple of caveats. One, there will not be perfection. The grammarian and writer in me want to revise, revise, and revise because anything posted online is there (here?) for all to see, and there is no taking it back. However, the sanguine in me is truly a stream-of-consciousness writer, and there is more than one interpretation for entitling this blog “The Fabulous Flow.” And the realist in me (what little there is) says that there has to be balance because I cannot add this to an already full schedule without letting a few things slide.
Caveat two, I am no scholar of early languages like Greek. So, if I err in my discussion, some of you who are more knowledgeable will just have to gently correct me. But, I want to study the Bible and try to get fresh ideas that are relatable to me. I want to dig for the treasure; I want to reap the reward. And, if I go off and read some scholarly interpretation, it will be hard for me to add any original thought to this.
I am an English/Literature teacher, and I always tell my students that no idea is wrong if they can support it. So, having said that, I’ll dive in.
In Deuteronomy 8, Joshua is about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land after 40 years of wilderness wandering. God gives some instructions as they are about to enter. In verse 2, He tells them to remember. He wants them to remember all He has done for them. There are a couple more things that struck me about this verse.
First, Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “…remember all the WAY which the Lord your God led you.” Before reading this passage closely, I thought the verse said, “…remember all the WAYS which the Lord your God led you.” Interestingly, despite 40 years in the wilderness, God was leading the Israelites only one WAY the entire time. HIS way. His way to accomplish His plan. All the mundane, everyday routine (see yesterday’s blog) was leading them His WAY. All the detours and all the times around the mountain, were leading to His way, His plan.
So, we haven’t read the entire verse yet. God says to remember how He led you, but WHY? Why did He lead you around the wilderness, and why does He want you to remember? (Yes, I’m talking about us now, not just the Israelites.)
Answer? “To humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
Okay, I’m going out on a limb here. Here was my first thought. God ALREADY knows what is in my mind and my heart, so why is He PROVING it? What does He prove by proving it?
So, now I am going to mess around with the punctuation. Let’s take out the comma after “prove you.” What if we read, “to humble you and to prove [to] you [so you would] know what was in your mind and your heart?” I know I have taken some liberties here, but the point is, perhaps God wants to prove to ME what is in my mind and my heart so that I will KNOW I’m going to keep his commandments.
Haven’t we all experienced self-doubt or doubted the strength of our faith? Don’t! Look back. Remember. See what God has provided for you. Do you see growth? God has proved to you what is in your mind and heart. You have been faithful. You are about to go in to POSSESS the land. Remembering not only helps us focus on God and give Him the glory as we see evidence of His hand in our lives, but it also encourages us to see our progress, to rejoice in our success, and even in our failures, because HE has brought us OUT of the wilderness. And we need to leave our doubts in the wilderness. So, God is offering assurance that it is the right time to possess the land. He wouldn’t lead us in if the time wasn’t right.
Now that we are to possess the land, He says (in verse 1), keep the commandments. You have faith, you are done in the wilderness, you know how to do this, so keep doing it so when you get to the land you can actually POSSESS it and multiply or grow and keep on possessing it and keep on growing because I, the Lord, promised to your forefathers I was giving you this land, and the time is NOW!
So, go out today and possess the land that God is giving you by remembering what He has provided for you and that He’s leading you in His way. Be strong in your faith and assurance that you can keep his commandments.
Until next time…