In God's Love
We just returned from a quick, two-day trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I say quick, but in reality, it was an eight-hour drive each way. We were there for my granddaughter’s ballet audition, yet this would not have been possible without technological advancements that allow automobiles to travel at speeds of 70 miles per hour and more. Cars with all the creature comforts like soft seats, heat or AC, music, GPS direction, etc., make the eight hours quite enjoyable.
Returning home, I had time to study for my weekly Bible study, and the lesson book mentioned a Deuteronomy 8 cross-reference. Reading the chapter, I witnessed God using Moses as His mouthpiece to speak to the Israelites at the end of their forty-year wilderness journey—right before they entered the Promised Land.
Reading about this dry, barren wilderness with no water or food for miles got me thinking. How amazing it is to travel 500 miles in eight hours, whereas it would have taken the Israelites a month to travel that distance on foot. And, what’s more, the trip comparison is astounding. I had rest stops about every fifty miles with food, drinks, AND restrooms. All my needs were easily met.
Things were very different for the Israelites. And this, I believe, was by God’s design.
The Almighty, speaking through Moses to this second generation, said He led them all the way these forty years in the wilderness to humble them and test them—to know what was in their heart—whether or not they would keep His commands. He also implied that He deliberately made life rough by allowing them to hunger.
This sort of flies in the face of the things we have learned about God. Scripture tells us God is love. And in our minds, this translates to—God loves us, so He won’t let us suffer.
When I think about traveling in a barren land, my empty stomach growling, my throat parched and dry, and such faintness in my body, there’s no energy left to take another step—I have a hard time imagining it. The only time I can somewhat relate to hunger is when I go on a diet. But then, there’s no real comparison. I have food easily within reach to quell my hunger pangs.
Not so for Israel. In their horrible trial of hunger, our Sovereign LORD’s love brought something beautiful—He fed them with manna—the bread from heaven. And God did this so He could make them know that man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
In God’s love, He allowed suffering so they would depend on Him and Him alone. This was especially needed when the Israelites entered the Promised Land—the land flowing with milk and honey—where they would flourish and have their needs met. Yet, as they prospered, Israel fell back into their old habits of trusting in themselves, their abilities, and false gods. They forgot, or rather ignored, the LORD God of Israel, who brought them out of the land of Egypt. That is, until they got into a jam.
Are we any different? By God’s plan, humans are ingenious. We’ve been able to make life easy and comfortable for ourselves. Once difficult tasks now require minimal effort. And because we are so resourceful, we lack very little. Being able to provide for our own needs, we don’t depend on God—that is, until we get into a jam.
So, in these last days, as persecution of true believers mounts, please remember—in God’s love—He allows suffering. Fall on your knees, surrender to Him and see the True Bread from heaven. His miracles will abound and bring you safely into the Promised Land.
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