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. (Dt. 8:2-5)
God delivers us from bondage, but there is a stripping away of earthly comforts that needs to occur for us to understand that he is our source. We are free, but we are still far too self-reliant. I know that has been the case for me. For the first 20 years of my walk with him, I tried to control circumstances, and even to get him to bless my agenda. Things were much the same for the children of Israel. They wanted freedom as long as it was accompanied by worldly comforts, but as soon as they became uncomfortable they began to complain and doubt God. They were led out into a barren wilderness, and even though God provided, the manna was not nearly as satisfying as what they had eaten in Egypt. Here God explains that there was a reason for the way he led them. He allowed comforts to be stripped away in order to humble them, and teach them that their trust was to be in him rather than earthly resources. Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Lord disciplines those he loves. Even though those who equate victory with pleasant circumstances might question God for leading his children into a wilderness, this passage shows that he had a good agenda for his people. His intention was to humble them and to teach them to trust so that he could bless them. It was to burn out their pride and sense of entitlement. We tell ourselves that we deserve blessing. However, the human heart is wicked and deserves nothing but the wrath of our holy and perfect God. Still, we get his mercy. In his mercy he disciplines us and leads us as his very own children. In his mercy he transfers us out of darkness to light, and from wrath to favor. What an amazing honor! We can certainly trust his good plan for our lives.
Lord, I have been stripped and humbled time and again. I suppose I am slow to learn, but I appreciate that you love me and have a good plan. You are lovingly using these humbling circumstances to teach me to trust you and to recognize that you are my source. You are stripping away my self-reliance and teaching me that I can live by every word that proceeds from your mouth. Thank you for loving me so much. Help me to live in a manner worthy of that calling. Amen