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Purpose: Deuteronomy 8:1-20's 2nd of 4th Living Commentary's message A.) Embrace God's good purposes shows how we build up our faith and ward against doubt by remembering God's good purposes even in difficult times.
We build up our faith and ward against doubt by remembering God's good purposes even in difficult times.
Did you notice all the purpose clauses in Deuteronomy 8?
8:1 All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers.
8:2 And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
8:3 And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.
8:16 In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.
8:18 But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day" (Deuteronomy 8:1-3, 16, 18).
God allows events to occur in our lives to accomplish a certain purpose. God does not only get involved in our plans when we think we need Him. As a good Father, He takes the initiative. If we do not understand and embrace God's purposes, either through ignorance or stubbornness, we interpret life through a false lens. The unbelieving world does this throughout their lives. They are unbelievers. We can understand this, though sad it is, that they do not know about God's glorious grace. What about believers, though? Sometimes we too have doubt about God's best interests in mind and become very susceptible to temptation and rebellion.
In Deuteronomy Moses prepares the people for the reestablishment of the covenant. Believers also live under a covenant. A covenant is a special plan that enables God to wonderfully work in and through those under the covenant. The covenant, like a will is signed by blood, in our case the blood of Christ. By deflecting God's wrath to Christ, His people can draw close to Him. As a result, they are bound to Him. God gets specially involved in their lives. If we are to develop strong Christian lives, we must know and embrace God's involvement in our lives.
The Christian faith's major objective is not to get us to heaven, though it does, but to build a rich relationship between God and man. Why is God so involved in our lives? Because He wants to be! He is a God we can fully trust in and if you can embrace this truth, you will do well most through your life. Satan jabs at every believer who would doubt God's love and grace. Protect yourself by embracing God's involvement in your lives! Let's look what this means in the following verses.
Deuteronomy 8:1 tells His people, "All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers." Can you see God's good will here?
"For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper." (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).
What kind of life does God want for His people? A full life. Jesus said the same thing, "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10). God wants you to see His real purpose for these things because they build a deep trust in His ways. When we have an accident, fail a course, lose a job, miscarry, can't find a spouse, your trust in His basic loving plan is essential to a good response.
This general acknowledgement of God's active love in our lives is a basic unchangeable doctrine that strengthens our trust in Him during difficult times.
If we believe that the only immediate purpose God has with us is to prosper us, though, then we will end up confused. The prosperity gospel is a false gospel because of this confusion. Prosperity teaching only teaches the first purpose here listed as if it is the only purpose. If we believe God's only immediate purpose is to prosper us, then we must draw the conclusion that He will in every way cause good things to happen in our lives. It is true but only in a limited way.
We must balance this purpose with other truths about God's purposes. There are more than one "that He" clauses in this chapter. In the very next verse the Lord mentions another purpose clause to balance the first.
And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not (Deuteronomy 8:2).
What is His purpose here? It is something quite unexpected and different from the first, "That He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart…" We could interpret the first purpose as meaning that all believers will have a smooth sailing life, but the Lord highlights another purpose here stating that He will test us. What does this ‘testing' or trying mean?
The verse says that He tests us in order to know ‘what was in your heart.' Doesn't God already know what is in our heart? He sure does. He knows all things. Remember how God chose David, the younger son, because his brothers' hearts were not rightly prepared. "The Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
God uses tests for our welfare. He reveals our true strengths and weaknesses to us. Our responses reveal our hearts. "So then, you will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:20). We will be deceived about the status of our faith if God does not reveal the weak spots. It is much like when we get sick. The symptom let's us know we have a certain weakness in our bodies. We then seek the Lord to help us get better even though we do not know what the real problem is.
There is that sense through this exercise that we are humbled before Him and learn to more deeply love and trust Him. ￼Is it not true that after trials God's people often say, "I would not have chosen it, but God has taught me a lot through it?" What are they referring to? The testings reveal our weak faith. When our lack of trust is confronted through the poor way that we handle things, we learn to trust Him more and discover more of His love and grace. The problem is that our weakness first needs to be exposed and this is not an easy thing for our pride, our finances or security in life. But God has deeper purposes.
Deuteronomy 8:16 is very similar speaking about how He might humble us and make us understand our needs, but it goes on and shares how He does it "to do good for you in the end."
"In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end." (De 8:4).
Isn't this special? We do not admit it, but everyone who has walked through difficult times will find God sweeter and more glorious.
So how does this fit into your perspective of life? Are you ready to accept these testings? If you hang on to the things in the world, you will see that the very thing you hang on to means that you are not ready for a testing in life. Your trial will feel worse than it is. There are reports about how people are getting very insecure of their financial security, environmental chaos, etc. Instead we need to sit back and give the Lord all that we have so that when the time comes for the testing, we will not doubt the Lord's motivation of love but trust Him. He might want to test our faith and see how deep our faith goes.
God also wants us to remember how He specially cares for us. He is good. Points one and two are interrelated with this one.
8:3 And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD."
God does humble His people. He humbled the Israelites in the desert. He had them become hungry. Hunger is a very desperate need. Sometimes man is so consumed in his perspective of life, though, that there is no other way to correct man's waywardness other than through destroying the very things that he cherishes. You, like I, would not like to go through times of hunger. God has a clear purpose, however. We need to understand something. This understanding is so important that the Lord Jehovah is willing to break our personal piggy banks and bring our societies through chaotic times.
The Lord is intimately involved in your life.
They had was a sense of independence combined with naivety. They thought they were doing fine on their own. God really did not have a significant place in their lives. They thought He did, but it quite quickly became evident that they really didn't trust God. They only superficially believed He made and sustained the world. But they forgot what it practically meant. We will speak more on this later. But before moving on, let us look at one more important purpose verse in Deuteronomy 8.
But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:18).
God is the wealth machine. I doubt this is taught in our economic courses, but it should be. Again, we hope to address this later, but for the purpose here we see that God wants us to know that He is the One who gives us wealth. It is not because we are great or clever. In this case, He did it to confirm a promise He made to their forefathers. God would give them the land. God would provide them with a good land.
God's purpose here goes beyond this generation of Israelites. It is not because of them God is making them wealthy. In a sense, they are only incidental. God is giving them these things because He promised their fathers. It is the faith of their forefathers, not their faith. At the same time it reminds us how important it is to get a right perspective of our lives. Sometimes we look far too narrowly and do not think of God's purposes that shape my life (Why did God create me?) or too ungrateful (forgetting the blessings that come through my parents and those around me).
Let me summarize these three points.
1) God wants to prosper us
Never doubt God's good intentions! We are to embrace God's good purposes. We build up our faith and ward against doubt by remembering God's good purposes even in difficult times.
2) God will try our hearts
Expect trials. Learn from them. God allows these difficult times to nurture a deeper faith in us so that He can further bless us, "to do good for you in the end."
3) God is involved in your life
Welcome His involvement. Work with Him! God is involved in the details of our lives" (Deism believes in a false god. ￼The Creator God might have rested one day but is very involved in rescuing them now. Remember that it is essential to break out of secularism. That thought that God does not play an important role in caring, providing and running this world. These thoughts bound up in evolution and scattered everywhere in materialistic ads denies God's power and presence. This is exact opposite of what is true, God is all powerful and shows His love through what He provides.
Let's now understand how our life's experience fit into our spiritual growth from this study on Deuteronomy 8.