How can we remain faithful to God when life is good? How do we remain faithful in the Promised Land? When we are in the wilderness, we feel like we are going to die, and we need God to rescue us, we know that there is nothing we can do, and God has to intervene. At those moments we are desperate and we know that we cannot save ourselves. And when we make it through the wilderness with God’s help, we are quick to give God the credit, and we thank and praise him because he stepped in and provided.
But in the Promised Land, we are working, and we see the fruits of our labor. It really seems like it was we ourselves who produced our success. As a result we can have a hard time seeing how we need God.
In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses reminds the people that it is God who gives us the ability to produce wealth. So how can we let that truth sink in to our lives deeply? God is the source of our wealth. How can we keep that in the forefront of our minds no matter if we are in the wilderness or if we are in the Promised Land?
I believe at least part of the answer to that question is found in a thread that Moses sews through his teaching in this chapter. Go back and read Deuteronomy 8, and see if you can notice the thread. After I name the thread, I think you’ll see it over and over in this chapter. Here it is: God wants to show his father heart for his people.
Let’s scan through Deuteronomy 8, and see if we can see the father heart of God.
- Verse 1 – he wants them to live and increase, he keeps his promise.
- Verse 2 – he led them, he wants to know their hearts, to have a close relationship.
- Verse 3 – he fed them, taught them.
- Verse 4 – he provided for their physical well-being.
- Verse 5 – he disciplines them (and the intent of this word is loving discipline).
- Verses 7-10 – he is bringing them to a bountiful land.
- Verse 14 – he brought them out of slavery.
- Verse 15-16 – he led them through the dangerous wilderness.
- Verse 18 – he gives them the ability to produce wealth.
Look at all those ways God is a loving Father to them!
I know that not everyone had a good example of a loving father in your earthly father. Because of that I believe those who say that it can be hard for them to view God as father. That is legit.
I encourage you to take a look at a chapter like Deuteronomy 8, and soak up the picture of your heavenly father. It may be something you need to return to many times to learn the true heart of the father.
When we do that, what kind of father’s heart do we see in God in Deuteronomy 8? We see a Father God who watches out for us, who sees the potential for trouble we can get into. We do that as parents and grandparents! We want to warn them, say “beware”, and sometimes our kids and grand-kids respond, “No way, that will never happen. You are wrong.” And the kids don’t listen. Sometimes they do get into trouble. We can be like that with God, too. Therefore, let us know the father’s heart of love for us, whether we are in the wilderness or in the promised land.
So you who are in the Wilderness:
- Look at it as a privilege.
- See the beauty of being in the wilderness.
- Be careful not to be addicted to the desire for the Promised Land.
So you who are in the Promised Land:
- Know that the Promised Land is not better than the wilderness.
- Know that God gives you the ability to produce wealth.
- Commit acts of sacrifice that show that you are not depending on our own wealth and abilities.
- Willingly re-enter the wilderness.
In other words, like I said yesterday, see the Promised Land through the lens of the wilderness. Have a wilderness mindset, even when you are in the Promised Land.
We can become negative about the wilderness, so hateful of the pain and suffering that we get addicted to the Promised Land, fixated with ease and comfort of the Promised Land. The Promised Land can become an idolatrous fixation.
The wilderness, Moses says, is God’s classroom. A time of teaching and training. A time to learn and grow. God intends, therefore, for us to see the wilderness as a positive thing.
Has God ever allowed a wilderness discipline in your life? How did it change you? What is your wilderness? It seems we all go through a wilderness at some time, that God allows it.
But maybe you are not in the wilderness. Maybe you are in the land of bounty. How will you be faithful in the Promised Land?