"He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you." (Deut. 8:16).
Moses is reviewing with the people how God's care has been evident as they wandered through the desert toward the promise. Read it for yourself.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in
the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you
in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you
would keep his commands.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding
you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had
known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell
during these forty years.
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son,
so the Lord your God disciplines you.
Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking
in his ways and revering him.
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good
land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs
flowing in the valleys and hills;
a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees,
pomegranates, olive oil and honey;
a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack
nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig
copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord
your God for the good land he has given you.
Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God,
failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees
that I am giving you this day.
Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you
build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and
flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all
you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud
and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you
out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that
thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and
scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.
He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your
fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that
in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself,
"My power and the strength of my hands have produced
this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for
it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so
confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as
it is today (Deut. 8:2–18).
The people had some trying times. Desert years are no picnic. In those years, though big in population, they were small in power. No land. No home. No houses. No fields of their own. Like the patriarchs before them, they were living in tents and wandering. They wandered in circles with the Promised Land just out of reach.
Yet, when they looked back, they could see the hand of God ever present. In the moment, they found plenty to grumble about as they journeyed. They did not always feel the presence and power of God as they wandered. But in hindsight His provision was clear. Did they think they were wandering? Hindsight revealed that God was leading them.
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