by: Timothy Vazquez
Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV) Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
As Moses was reviewing the long forty-year journey that the Israelites had been on just before they were about to enter the Promised Land, he revealed the reason for the many years of wandering that they had experienced. As we know from scripture, the people had refused to go into the Promised Land earlier because they chose to believe the bad report that ten of the twelve spies who spied out the land gave them. Instead of believing God when He told them that He had given them the land, they chose to believe what their ears heard from the ten faithless spies, which was that there was no way they could succeed because there were too many strong people, including a good number of giants in the land. These unfaithful spies told the people that if they were to go in and try to possess the land, they would be devoured by these giants. The masses of the people then refused to go into the land that God gave to them. Only Joshua and Caleb, the other two spies who believed God and brought a good report, survived the forty-year journey through the wilderness. All the other adults of that generation died without seeing the Promised Land.
But the children of that generation were a part of that whole scene and wound up having to travel through the wilderness also because of their parent's unbelief. During that time, they encountered a lot of dangers, challenges, and strong enemies. Some people have asked why the Lord would allow His people to go through all of that trouble for so long. The answer is in the verse above. God was humbling them and testing them to see what was in their hearts and to see if they would be obedient. After the testing, they were ready to possess the land.
How about you? Have you gone through trials and tribulations? Has life been very difficult at times although you love the Lord and you serve Him? While you were going through that season, did you grumble and complain or did you turn to the Lord for His mercy and His help? It is in our sufferings that we become more connected and more intimate with God. Because of our sinful nature (that same nature that was in the complaining Israelites), we many times do not pass the test, causing us to have to take another lap around the proverbial "wilderness," as the Israelites had to do. Once we do learn to love, trust and obey the Lord Jesus through our trials and tests, we are then ready to take possession of God's promised land for us, which is His perfect will and plan for our lives. We will all go through trials and tests because there is no other way that we can learn God's ways because of our fallen state. But the question is, will it be a short period where you will quickly learn the wisdom of submitting to God, or will it take forty years or more for it finally to dawn on you that God's ways are best and that He is worthy to be praised and adored? The quicker that you submit to the Lord's testing and probing of your heart, the quicker you will be prepared and ready to receive the blessings and the joy that come from God's perfect will for your life. God will test your heart. Love and obey Him and you will surely pass the test.
Pastor Joey Vazquez