Show me Your glory, I pray.
Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these
forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
It’s been said that in school you are taught a lesson and then given a test, while in life you are given a test that teaches you a lesson. Today’s scripture says as much, as we see the Israelites faced with a test in order to teach them a lesson.
In today’s scripture Moses tells the Israelites to remember how the Lord had led them in the wilderness, “testing” them. God tested them to teach them the lesson of humble reliance on Him: “He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna…” Humility is essential in learning to rely on God in every situation. Less of me, more of Him!
Nineteenth century Bible commentator, Adam Clarke, explains this Privation Provision Principle we see at work in today’s passage and throughout Scripture:
“God never permits any tribulation to befall his followers, which he does not design to turn to their advantage. When he permits hunger, it is that mercy may be the more observable in providing us with the necessaries of life. Privations, in the way of providence, are the forerunners of mercy and goodness abundant.” (Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible)
When God permits hunger or any privation in our lives, it is for the purpose of teaching us to rely on God for every need. We are given a test in order to learn a lesson. Through their test the Israelites were to “understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” What an important lesson for the Israelites, and for us! We can depend on God’s Word in every life situation. More than our stomachs might hunger for bread, we would hunger for God’s Word.
This is what Jesus did when, in another Wilderness, He too hungered for bread! When tempted by Satan to take matters into His own hands and create bread, Jesus quoted today’s scripture: “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus understood well the Privation Provision Principle: whenever faced with privation, He looked to His Father for provision!
This was an essential lesson for the Israelites to learn in order to possess the Promised Land. It is an essential lesson for you and me to learn every day.
So if you are being tested, it is for you to understand the lesson: you can rely on every word that comes from the mouth of God! Or to paraphrase Adam Clarke: God never permits a trial or test to befall you, which He does not design to turn to your advantage!
- Can you think of a test in your life that taught you a lesson? If so, whatwas the lesson?
- How has the Privation Provision Principle played out in your life?