January 21, 2012
Amplified Bible (AMP)
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.
4Your clothing did not become old upon you nor did your feet swell these forty years.
5Know also in your [minds and] hearts that, as a man disciplines and instructs his son, so the Lord your God disciplines and instructs you.
I’ve been looking at Deuteronomy 8, and I can’t seem to get past the first few verses. There is so much treasure to be found here. Verse 3 says, “He humbled you and allowed you to hunger.” Think about the Israelites. How were they humbled? First, they were in bondage in Egypt; then, they walked around the desert for 40 years. They had no resources. They could do nothing for themselves. They couldn’t plant things for food; they were in a desert. There was no water; they were in a desert. There were no trees for building things; they were in the desert.
In most places on this earth, if people reside there for 40 years, a community is established—homes, a road, a city, industry, something. The Israelites couldn’t do that. I think if they would have had any resources at all, they would have carved out a place for themselves there in the wilderness. And stayed there. How sad. They still managed to wander around there for 40 years even without creating a town. But, they were helpless; and if not for God, they would have perished in the wilderness. Talk about being humbled. The Israelites couldn’t take credit for anything at all. God had to do everything for them. He was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He fed them with manna. He provided water. He kept their feet from swelling…in other words, He kept them physically healthy. He kept their clothes from wearing out. That’s provision! Come on…40 years walking around in the heat, sweating, kicking up sand, without any deodorant, without any method of taking a bath or washing clothes…and the cloth didn’t just rot and fall from their bodies? Nope. And while they were walking around, God was provided discipline and instruction. He was preparing them.
Do you realize that despite our modern day comforts and conveniences, we are in the same position as the Israelites? We may look like we have it more together than the Israelites did, but in reality, if not for God, we would perish.
Has God humbled you? One of the definitions of humble is to “destroy independence and power, or the will of.” Have you ever found yourself in a place or situation that you couldn’t handle on your own? Have you ever felt like you have made a fool of yourself? Have you ever felt like you haven’t measured up? God wants to destroy your independence.
Has He allowed you to hunger? (Yes, it says allowed.) What have you hungered for? Think about it. Examine the list. Is there a common denominator? Everything we hunger after leads back to God. Have you hungered for friendship? God will be your friend. Have you hungered for acceptance? God accepts you at the point of your need. Have you hungered for love? God’s love is unconditional. Have you hungered recognition? God created you and knows you better than anyone else. He recognizes you—the real you. Have you hungered for provision? He is our Provider! He owns everything!
Has God fed you with manna? The Bible says He has. What was your manna? It is something “which you did not know nor did your fathers know.” God provided you with something you needed, which perhaps you didn’t know you needed. Your “fathers”—those in your life who care about you—they didn’t know you needed it either. Only God knew, and He took care of it. So, God humbled you, He allowed you to hunger, and He fed you with manna.
But, why? Because He wants to bring you to a place where you realize HE is the only resource you have. If not for Him, you would perish. He is your Sustenance. The verse says, “…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.”
He wants us to know Him, and not just know Him personally (as Savior) but to know the truth that man does not live by bread alone. Man does not live by (only) the things God provides in the wilderness. God wants us to know that there is more when we get to the Promised Land! What does man live by? “Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” So what does that mean? God’s Word—the Bible.
Okay, I know that. Well, knowing and recognizing imply action. If we know and recognize something, we can DO something. So, now that I am no longer in the wilderness, I have to take a more active part. I still need God’s resources; without Him, I am nothing. But now is that part where we “work out our salvation.” (Phil. 2:12) And that implies taking an active role. Doing the part I can do, and letting God do the rest.
So, what do I know and recognize? What is your list? What do you already know? Are you acting on your knowledge? I know a lot! Am I acting on all of it?
What are the things I don’t know or don’t understand? Do they matter? There are two choices here. Yes, they matter—so I need to study God’s Word to see what He has to say about it. No, they don’t matter—they are things better left to God, and I don’t need to understand.
So, where are you–in what stage of your journey? Are you still in the wilderness? Do you need a Savior? Are you receiving His discipline and instruction? Are you being humbled? Are you being fed manna from on high until God convinces you that HE is your source? Or, are you on the threshold of the Promised Land in your life?
If you are standing on the threshold, remember the hunger, remember the manna, and remember the humility. Know and understand Who God is. Realize His discipline and instruction have been to prepare you to take possession.
6So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and [reverently] fear Him.
No Promised Land, whether it is a physical territory or a ministry into which God is leading, will be successful unless we, its leaders, are knowledgeable (hence, the instruction) and disciplined (which takes work and self-control) to “keep the commandments…,walk in His ways…,and fear Him.”
Until next time…