Remember the Lord your God   Leave a comment

canaan

Canaan

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. 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.For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8

It’s been quite a long time I’ve not been sharing from the Old testament. Since last week this verse was coming over and over in my mind. This is the reason for this post.

Why did God make the Israelites walk for 40 years in the wilderness? It could take just a few days to enter Canaan. Why walking for 40 long years in a scorching sun? Why waiting for such a long time in a wilderness which had no food and water but only sand, snakes and scorpions? Simply because God wanted to form their character, mould them and make Himself known to them as their Provider. God wanted to make the Israelites know Him, know that He is the I AM who did miracles since the great escape from Egypt.

The problem with the human mind is that he forgets too quickly and remember what it wants. The Israelites forgot the Egyptian’s oppression but remembered the nice food they got there. They forgot the plagues on the Egyptians, how God spared them and led them through the red sea but will not forget to complain.

Before God elevates, he humbles. God blesses the humble. He forms our character and attitude. He wants to see our attitude in the midst of trials. I don’t think God stops doing that nowadays.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.” 1 Peter 4:12

Even if many of us are not persecuted or tortured, God allows us to go through trials to form our character, grow and know Him better. Gold has to go through the flame to be purified.

The Israelites failed many times when tested. They complained and were disobedient to God’s directives.  God wanted to make the Israelites understand well who He was and what He was going to do.  When they were hungry, God sent manna and quails. When they were thirsty, God made water come out of a rock.

When Moses sent the 12 spies to visit the land of Canaan, only Joshua and Caleb  believed the Israelites could conquer the land with God’s help. Only these 2 had faith. God in his anger sent the Jews to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that unfaithful generation died. In this generation, only Joshua and Caleb survived and entered Canaan because they trusted God.

Canaan and the wilderness soon became antonyms.

The Israelites were blessed and had plenty of food They got a land, wheat, barley, grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil, honey, livestock, iron, copper – nothing was lacking.

But that is the time to watch more on one’s attitude! Because it becomes so easy to put God aside. If we apply it to the modern Christians, that could mean a Christian who still goes to church but has no time to care for souls. That could mean a Christian who does not study God’s Word, pray and share God’s Word. To be more precise, it’s a person who is no longer putting God’s kingdom first because he is so busy doing other things. God has indeed saved him and blessed him but he became trapped in a comfortable life.

But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful!” v 11-13

This Christian can become prosperous in this world without his soul prospering.  Then comes the time he forgets what God did for him. He becomes ungrateful, disobedient and ungodly. He wonders and say “What did Jesus do for me?”. He no longer takes pleasure in God’s presence.

Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors.” v14

As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for all these trials was to make the Israelites understand well that they were nothing in all this. God did everything from A to Z for them. The Israelites did not know about Canaan, this was God’s plan.

He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.”

Remember the Lord your God. Don’t let yourself entangled by the things of this world. Obey Him. God may have taken you out of a pit and elevated you. Do not forget how He miraculously saved you. We tend to easily forget the consequences of disobedience, negligence and ignoring God. God clearly said:

 But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the Lord your God.” v19

God was serious when He cursed this Israel which later on became idolatrous and did abominable things!

Peter clearly said:

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” 1 Peter 1:9

Hebrews 3:7-19, summarises this post:

That is why the Holy Spirit says,“Today when you hear his voice,don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,even though they saw my miracles for forty years.So I was angry with them, and I said,‘Their hearts always turn away from me.They refuse to do what I tell them.’So in my anger I took an oath:‘They will never enter my place of rest.’Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Remember what it says:“Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt? And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness? And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.”

Let’s not forget where God has taken us from, let’s not have a hardened and unbelieving  heart. Remember what the Lord your God did.

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Posted November 24, 2012 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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