Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This is our air...

In chapters 8 through 10 of Deuteronomy, Moses continues to challenge God's people before their move into the promised land. All these years later, his words are every bit as timely and important as when originally spoken, and I cannot skip this opportunity to allow God's Word to speak for itself.

From chapter 8:

2 Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. 5 Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.

According to verse 2, God used the wilderness experience to humble his children, to test them and to determine if they'd be obedient.

I'm reminded here of Proverbs 16:18 which reads: Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.

In truth, only humble people are teachable, the prideful and arrogant think they have nothing to learn. It seems that the best recipe for a fall might just be prideful resistance to God's wisdom. For Moses' audience, it was physical hunger that resulted in acknowledgement of their total dependence on God. It's important to remember that genuine humility might prevent difficult times of testing in our lives.

I hope that unlike God's children who had to roam the wilderness for forty years in order to grasp that their very survival depended on God's grace, we realize without a wilderness experience that it is in Him and His Word that we live and move and have our being.

Charles Spurgeon has expounded on the idea that we are to live by God's Word, noting that we aren't to be led by feelings or emotions. "You have never received spiritual life by your own feelings. It was when you believed God's Word that you lived; and you will never get an increase of spiritual life, and grow in grace, by your own feelings or your own doings. It must still be by your believing the promises and feeding on the Word."

Maybe the thing to remember about all this in addition to the priority of believing and knowing God's Word is to remember that God recognizes false humility. He doesn't listen to what we say if it doesn't match what he knows to be in our hearts.

My prayer, my hope is that God doesn't need to test me or humble me, and that I will always be teachable. Father, forgive me for ever thinking that I can do anything that matters apart from your grace. I hunger to know your Word, and I recognize that my existence depends on it more than the very air I breathe.

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