“He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. “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. Deuteronomy 8:15-16 (NASB)
These words are contained in the second address by Moses to the people Israel at the end of the 40 years of wandering after the Exodus. Deuteronomy means “second law” and in the first chapters of this book Moses recounts all that God has done for them. Throughout the years of wandering, God constantly reminded them that He had used every circumstance in their history. Not only that, but He caused those circumstances to take place. He brought them into Egypt and exactly 430 years later to the day, He brought them out.
Moses also knows these people very well. He knows they complain about everything and they are strong willed and rebellious. God often refers to them as “stiff necked.” Israel also struggles with worry and fear.
Personally, I can understand and even relate to their fear and anxiety to some degree. Many of those who left Egypt were not religious, but more like people you and I know today. They have a form of godliness but God is little more to them than someone who they love when he gives them what they want, and the one they blame when things go wrong. They had no real relationship with God before the Exodus and only learned God’s character as they traveled away from Egypt. As a result we see in the pages of Scripture that in addition to worry and fear, they were an anxious people.
What did they have to worry or complain about? They were fed and clothed, their shoes never wore out, they were protected and safe as long as they obeyed God. Why were they so fearful and anxious all the time? Why did they fret?
Like you and I, Israel had heart problems that caused them to doubt the goodness of God. They did not believe God was truly good, or that He would provide for their needs. They doubted God’s divine plan for their lives was good. (Do you see yourself in here anywhere?) In Deuteronomy Moses was reminding them of how far they had come by God’s strength and today our completed Bible tells us of the same.
Just like Israel, our doubt feeds the fears and the desires of the heart, that is, what we really worship, and that doubt forms a vicious cycle of out of control emotion and fear. This where we get all tangled up!
Here is a daring question; What if you and I really lived like we believed God’s Word is true? What if we decided to stop second-guessing and did what we believe to be the right thing to do and refused to act or react out of fear or doubt? What if you took that bold step of faith because you are firmly convicted or convinced it is the direction you are to go in? I am not advocating irresponsibility, but I think we often stay in situations out of fear. Our lives are not to be dominated by fear but by faith.
You might be wondering, “Is it really that simple?” You may be thinking up all sorts of objections that begin with, “What if…?” and “But what about…?” Yes, it really is that simple. Those “what if’s” are irrelevant in the plans the Lord has for us.
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