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God Teaches Dependence Upon Him

Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV) … “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

In the course of urging obedience to God’s commands upon the Israelites, Moses tells them to remember the whole way in which the Lord led them in the wilderness. Those forty years—the first two before Israel’s refusal to enter Canaan were also in the wilderness—were hard years. God did not even lead the people of Israel by the most direct route from Egypt to Canaan at the beginning. There were probably several reasons for this. They had to go through a desert region in any case, and God used this to humble and test Israel. This was then, of course, extended to forty years because of the refusal of the people to enter Canaan the first time they reached its borders.

It is likely that ‘humble’ in these verses means ‘made you feel your weakness and dependence’ (see v. 3 especially). Israel needed to learn complete dependence upon God. In Egypt, life had been predictable; every year the Nile flooded and provided fertility for food production. But in Canaan it would be different; there they would be dependent upon rain, and rainfall would in turn depend upon their obedience to God (11:10–17). So in the desert God was training them to trust him and rely on his provision. This is why ‘He … let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know.’ God provided for them miraculously in order to teach them to depend upon him. This provision included the fact that their clothing did not wear out, and it even extended to their feet. With all their journeying their feet might have been expected to become swollen and painful, but God preserved them from this.[1]

In the same way God has promise to meet our needs and to take care of us. The question is are we walking or living in a humble dependence upon the Lord? If you are in the dessert time of life, remember God is with you and upon Him you can place your trust.

[1] Brown, P. E. (2008). Deuteronomy: An expositional commentary (pp. 82–83). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

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