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Bob McPherson: That He Might Humble You

The Old Testament scriptures were written “that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). Patience, comfort, and hope come from what we learn of God’s character and principles revealed in His dealings with His people. Sometimes applications for us are not readily apparent, but sometimes they are. In Deuteronomy 8:1-10, Moses reminds the people that wandering through the wilderness had purpose and taught principles. Enduring trials, temptations, and tests will accomplish some things if we will let them, or if we will let Him. Lessons from their wandering will help us through the tests and trials of our journey.


God tests us for a purpose (1-2). Moses commanded the people to keep God’s commandments and reminded them that their hope of a reward rested on a sure promise. They were being led to the land “that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.” He instructed them to recall all that God has brought them through and told them why. God tests us to humble us. Not to beat us down, but to teach us to depend on Him. In the New Testament, James will write, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). And, Moses taught, God tests us to prove, refine, strengthen, and purify us. “You know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3).


God teaches us to trust Him (3-6). He will “let us hunger” - then supply what we need. What we need most is His life-giving word. The prophet would proclaim, “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live” (Isa. 55:3). Jesus would come and say, “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). And the apostles would understand, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). God disciplines and provides for His children as a loving father. And His children respond with trusting obedience. God was “testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.” God’s commandments are a heart check.


God focuses us on the reward (7-10). The faithful Lord is bringing us to a good land. Moses warned against thinking otherwise. “Do not say in your heart… ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land” (Deut. 9:4). It is not our doing, but His. Like the Israelites, we endure tests and trials looking forward to the “good land He has given you” and remember our reward is a gift by His grace. Paul would write, “For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law… That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace” (Rom. 4:14-16). And, as Moses described the abundant, fertile promised land of old where they would “eat and be full” we can know that when we reach our reward, we will be satisfied (Rev. 22:1-5).

God tests us for a purpose. He teaches us to trust Him. He focuses us on the reward. Let Him humble you. Trust Him. Focus.

 Bob McPherson lives in Warren County, but spends as much time as possible in Butler County.  He preaches for the Eastside Church of Christ in Bowling Green.  He can be reached at bdmcpherson2@gmail

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