“A man who does not know his own heart does not think what need he has of affliction, and for that reason is uneasy, but when God comes with afflictions to the man or woman who have studied their own hearts, they can say, I would not have been without this affliction for anything in the world, God has so suited this affliction to my condition, and has come in such a way that if this affliction had not come I am afraid I should have fallen into sin” Burroughs p. 60
“Perhaps the Lord takes away many comforts from them that they had before, or denies them some things that they hoped to have got. Now by knowing their hearts they know that they were not able to manage such wealth, and they were not able to manage such prosperity” Burroughs p.60
The great showcase for the children of God to observe and learn the ways of God, and His dealings, as well as what He is after in all of His ways with us. (The story can be read and observed in Exodus, Psalm 78, 95, and 106, and elsewhere in Hebrews and 1 Corinthians.)
The fact that the Israelites and their wilderness story is mentioned so many other times in the Bible shows us that there is a lot to learn from what happened to them and how God dealt with them in their time.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 tells us what the wilderness experience was all about for them:
“And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether though wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”
The first thing mentioned is that God led them 40 years in the wilderness to humble them. Let’s start there.
Being humbled by God.
Have you ever been through a time when you were caught in a desperate situation and you literally had nowhere else to turn, except to God? When you have sought God and thought you had been doing everything He asked, and thought you had been trusting Him, and then suddenly, you find yourself in a desperate situation and you don’t understand what is going on? or where God is?! And you can’t seem to get any answers and it feels like everything is out of control?
The answer comes in the soft word, “to humble thee“.
When God humbles us, we find ourselves in a position where we NEED HIM desperately or all hope will be lost! We have NOWHERE to turn, NO ONE else to save us, and He alone is the One who can make a way where there is no way.
Being humbled is part of our disciplining to learn that He alone is God, and He can do what He pleases.
It also teaches us that we are desperately and utterly dependent on Him to save us.
We learn that:
- our own wisdom fails
- our own strength fails
- other people fail
- our resources fail
- our reasonings fail
- our plans fail
- our will fails
And we are left with nothing else but HIM:
- God’s wisdom
- God’s strength in Christ
- Father God, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit
- Heavenly resources
- Heavenly judgments
- Heavenly plans
- God’s will
And we find that we have been living in our own human ways, and as a human, we can do nothing.
- We are unable to add one cubit to our stature, and we are unable to make one hair on our head gray or black.
- We can not save ourselves, and we can not save other people.
- We can not control the universe, let alone the morning traffic.
- We aren’t able to know what will happen tomorrow, let alone in 5 minutes.
- We are not sovereign, and God will not allow one of His children to get along in life without being dependent fully on HIMSELF for ALL THINGS.
- And by this humbling, we are proved, so that WE can know what is in our own hearts.
We will pick this up tomorrow, observing what was in the heart and how we know our own hearts.