Testing during the wilderness phases of our journey
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses went on to reiterate several times the importance of proving their wholehearted love for God by obeying God’s Word, as well as, teaching the same to their children, vs 1-9.
He warned them to always remember to walk in obedience to God’s Word long after God gave them beautiful homes to live in and plenty to eat and drink. They were to take care to refrain from following the evil customs and traditions of the Nations that they were about to dispossess, vs 10-19, for it was only as they continued to walk in obedience that they would enjoy God’s blessings and favour and not be driven out if the land themselves, vs 24,25!
They were also commanded to completely destroy the people who lived therein, as well as, their altars sacred pillars and poles and burn up their idols too. In no way we’re they to ever consider intermarrying with the people of those nations, for that would automatically lead them to worship heathen gods and thus invite the anger of the Lord against themselves, Deuteronomy 7:2-5, 16!
This has practical implications for us too, today, which we will do well to realise and apply. On the other hand, obedience would bring blessings in the form of good health and ample provision of food, drink and shelter, vs 12,13. They also had to remind themselves that their blessing, favour and prosperity they enjoyed was not on account of their own righteousness, or because they were large in number, but rather, on account of God’s faithfulness in keeping His covenant with their ancestors, so long as they kept their part of the bargain too, vs 7-11.
They were not to fear as to how they would be able to overcome those nations, for it was the Lord Himself who would go before them, and by His mighty acts of power destroy those Nations, just like He did to Egypt, vs 17-24. God led them by the way of the wilderness just to test them to see if they would still obey Him while passing through the desert phases of their lives, and He fed them with manna to make them realise that walking in obedience to His laws, was more important than eating good food, so that in the days ahead, He could do them good on being assured that they would not stray away from Him and be deceived into thinking that it was by their power or might that they had become wealthy, but they would know that it was God who gave them the power to obtain wealth, Deuteronomy 8:2,3;16-18.
God reminded them not to forget about the many instances when they were stiff-necked and rebellious, and for which reason God was on the verge of destroying them! However, on account of Moses’ intercession and the honour of the Lord’s Name, they were spared!
*Further, it was only on account of the wickedness of those Nations that God was giving them their lands and not because of their own righteousness at all, Deuteronomy 9.
As we contemplate on these chapters we see that God has left no stone unturned to emphasise the importance of obedience to all His commandments and the blessings that would follow, as well as, the inevitable consequences of disobedience.
Testing’s during the wilderness phases of our journey were only meant to find out if we would still trust God and remain obedient to Him, on realising, that neither wealth nor food were our real sources of life, but that God Himself was, and that He has graciously given them to us as per our need while we live here on earth.
As we realise this and walk in the light of these revelations, we do not have to fear as to how we will overcome the giants in our flesh, for the Lord Himself will go before us to give us the victory and cause us to enjoy His amazing provisions of life and peace, and all that we need during our sojourn here on earth, because we choose to make God our first love!