To Fear or Not to Fear

To fear or not to fear… What are you afraid of? What makes your knee weak with fear? What shakes your composure and keeps you awake at night? Is it fear of sickness? fear of loneliness? fear of loss? fear of death? fear of rejection? fear of financial insecurities? fear of the unknown?

Psalm 112 tells the secret to a life of no fear. Fear the Lord and have no fear. The Christian life is not a pure smooth path of roses. It is not all sunshine. There will be darkness v.4 but even in darkness, light dawns for the upright -for the gracious, compassionate and righteous – these are the characteristics of those who fear the Lord. v. 6 tells us the righteous will never be shaken – they will stood firm and have no fear of BAD NEWS because their hearts are steadfast, trusting the Lord. v.7 This implies that there is bad news BUT we will have no fear even when things are bad.

Sometimes we are tossed and turned by waves of fears. It is so difficult to be steadfast – to be steady, to be secure and to ‘not be shaken’ and have no fear of the darkness, the bad news of life. What to fear? or rather Who to fear? Fear the Lord – not the kind of being afraid – but the kind of obedience – finding great delight in his commands! Turn your fear of the dark into steadfast unshakeable security by fearing the Lord of light. Even in darkness, light dawns. Even with bad news, there is no fear!

Psalm 112
1 Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

#fearless #FearOfTheLord #wisdom #readthebible

God is with me in my Suffering

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us… And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:17–18, 28

In 2009, when I was forty-seven, I was diagnosed with Stage O, ductal carcinoma in situ. My journey with cancer marks my third standing stone—and my treatment included a lumpectomy to remove a portion of my left breast, as well as thirty-four sessions of radiation therapy, and cancer maintenance medications that I continued to take (with all their side-effects and possible consequences) for seven years.

When I began going through radiation treatment, God’s Word nourished and sustained me. As I read God’s word each day, I experienced his presence and power strengthening me, and I rejoiced in his amazing grace. My prayer was, Lord, if you think my life has achieved the purpose you planned for me, then I am at peace with that. But if my mission is not yet complete, then show the way that I will continue to live according to your purpose. In the meantime, I want to make my life useful for your glory—to help my neighbors go through their challenges and any people you bring to me.”

All through my journey with cancer, I felt God’s warm embrace around me—a comfort beyond words and an immovable standing stone. As I got to know God more deeply by talking to him, listening to him, and discovering his character through the Bible, I experienced his peace beyond understanding and felt his assurance that I could live each day in joy and gratitude.

Psalm 1 says that blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night. And the promise is that he will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he will prosper.

Bearing fruit in season does not mean that my life will always be smooth and rosy, but that I can persevere and stand firm in God’s promises that all things—the good and the bad—will work for my good, because he loves me and is calling me according to his purpose.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your word and promise that in all things—even in suffering—you are calling me for your purpose. Help me to delight in your word and meditate on it so that I will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Amen.

Whispers of Prayer

From a bible study series entitled Whisper by Mark Batterson, I learned that prayer is about leaning in close to God’s heart to hear His voice.

In our study, someone asked how come she prayed and prayed and there seemed to be no answer to her prayers. This honest and authentic question is also a dilemma for many of us.

A friend’s insightful response stayed with me. God’s answer to our prayers is not a dot or a specific point in the map of destinations. It is a combination of several steps in the journey.

I learned and am still learning that prayer is more than just me asking God for specific answers to specific concerns. Unlike Biblical heroes of olden times, I do not hear God’s audible voice telling me exactly what to do in life’s hard decisions.

God gives me the freedom to choose and make decisions within the boundaries of His two great commandments – love Him and love neighbours. He also grants wisdom through the Holy Spirit to help me choose wisely.

I sometimes wish and pray that God would tell me option 1 or option 2 so I know that it’s the perfect one coz I know God’s ways are perfect. But He does not do that. I realised that I need to decide and choose wisely with all considerations. As I act and step out in faith and obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading, God opens and closes doors along the way.

Let me give an example. In the pandemic lockdown, I had to be referee/peacemaker because of quarrels among my helpers. On one occasion, the issue was resolved and they made up after we prayed together. On the 2nd occasion, one left not because they did not make up but because God worked out circumstances that way.

I prayed: Lord, if you think that she needs to stay with us so she can still grow in her Christian walk, then work things out so she would stay. But she left. Does it mean God did not answer my prayer? Not at all. God answered it in a different way. I pray and trust the Holy Spirit will continue to work even as she continues to join their weekly virtual Bible study.

I learned that prayers are God’s means to teach me to depend on Him for wisdom to act justly, extend kindness and do good every day. God does not want to me to stay in the elementary level passing tests with easy multiple choice questions. How I respond in faith and obedience to the hard and tough essays allows me to move on to a higher level – to experience and know God more: his character – his faithfulness, kindness, justice and goodness.

I need to lean in and put my ears close to the heart of God – to hear his soft whisper. How? I need more time with him than social media, more thoughts on His desires for me.. than other distractions and struggles with worries, fears, anger, etc… I need to turn off the noises of the world and turn on the whisper of the Word…to tune out the lies of the evil one and tune in to the truths of God.

The Way of Hope

In an episode from the TV series Amsterdam, there was a story of the depressed American Chinese youth, Amy who stepped off the subway platform onto an oncoming train. It tells us that depression is a silent killer. A pastor once preached that it is the 2nd most deadly disease – next to cancer.

A friend once asked if I have ever thought to take my own life. Honestly, I have never considered suicide as an option to escape from depression, or to stop the pain, grief or sadness. I have thought about disappearing though. What if I don’t come home.. what if I suddenly died – hit by a truck, or killed by someone, or struck by a serious deadly disease? But most of all, I have asked and longed for Jesus to return soon. Not a very noble longing… but hopeful longing so the suffering will end…

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB

This is the Bible verse for today. This is often my means of not ‘escaping’ depression but my way of ‘facing’ depression. In a word, it’s called Hope. That is also the word that Dr. Goodman (from the TV series Amsterdam) replied his colleague-oncologist regarding sickness.

Hope is a big word – not as emphasised as love or faith. But it is one of the three that remains. (1 Cor. 13:13) Hope is the sandwich filling… faith, hope and love.

My faith in the Word of God gives me hope and enables me to love. My hope that suffering will end soon allows me to continue and persevere in my suffering. My hope that one day, Jesus will return and I will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air, this hope sustains me to persist in choosing joy.

Faith and hope seem synonymous. Faith supports hope as hope is the evidence of faith. Because I believe, I have hope. Because I trust God’s promises are true, I rejoice in hope to doing better today, to becoming a better person tomorrow.

Because I believe that hubby loves me, I have hope that he is striving to be a better husband and father. This hope enables me to persist in love.

When our high school batch, Builders ’79 from Hope Christian High School celebrated our 40th anniversary, a classmate proposed that we use faith, hope and love in our theme. So we agreed on: Giving hope by faith in love… We decided that we would raise money to help people with educational and health care needs. We would give hope because we believe that God has been good to us. We want to pay it forward. We trust that God will enable us to reach our goal. We pray that as we hope and trust, we are covered in love – God’s love, our love for God and for our neighbours. Love motivates us to give hope. Faith enables us to give hope. Hope is a good thing.

Now faith is the assurance of things HOPED for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

How are you, my friend? Are you living hopefully? What are you hoping for? There is a Filipino saying: Habang may buhay, may pag-asa. As long as there is life, there is hope.

Where is your hope? On what do you place your hope? On people? On circumstances? On your own capabilities? All these things do not last. Only God’s Word is eternal. His promises are true and trustworthy. Read the Bible and know God – He alone is the source of faith, hope and love. These three remain.

Hope is the means to face depression. Hope in God. God is the sure source of our hope. He is faithful to His Word. His promises never fail. His purpose will never be thwarted.

Isaiah 55

1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

A House for the Lord; A Heart for God

King David loved God. He wanted to build a house for the Lord – a temple where the ark of the Lord could stay. The ark of covenant represented God’s presence. During the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promise land, the ark was in the tent of tabernacle; constantly being moved from place to place.

But God told David that he was not the one to build Him a house. Instead, God promised David that his son would be the one to build as He will establish his throne forever. (1 Chron. 17:4, 12)

Even as he would not build God’s house, David prepared for it. How?
1 Chronicles 22
vv. 2-4: David prepared builders and building materials from the iron for the nails, more bronze than could be weighed to more cedar logs that could be counted.

v. 5 David reasoned that his son, Solomon was young and inexperienced for the task as “the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations.”

vv. 6-14 David prepared and called Solomon for the task.
1) God’s promise: David shared God’s desire to his son. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ (vv. 9-10)

2) David’s Prayer: David prayed for his son to claim God’s promise to grant him success for the task. He prayed for the Lord to give Solomon wisdom so he may keep the law of the Lord. David assured his son that he would have success if he is careful to obey God. He encouraged Solomon to be strong and not be afraid. (vv. 11-13)

3) David’s charge to the people: David called upon the leaders of Israel to support and help Solomon in the task of building the temple. Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people. Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.” (vv.18-19)

From beginning to end, it’s all about the Lord, his God: The Lord’s presence (v.18), the Lord’s promise (v.9-10), the Lord’s provision of land and rest (v.9,18). At the heart of all of David’s preparations is his “heart and soul devoted to seek the Lord”…. “for the Name of the Lord.” (v.19)

How is my heart? What motivates me in the things that I do? For whom am I doing all that I do each day? Why am I doing what I do? Where do I draw strength to keep doing? Is the Lord, my God in all of them?

Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me to seek and love you fully for your glory. Amen.

Be Wise in Covid Times

This morning, I woke from a nightmare.

I was lost in an unfamiliar building trying to get out without a mask on my face. I tried asking for one. The lady from reception offered me masks. One after the other, all are dirty, stained. I finally got one but one strap was broken.
I tried holding my breath. I used part of my shirt – near the shoulders to cover my nose. I put on the broken mask. I walked faster to find the way out… took a wrong turn and ended up in another building. I could not find hubby and the exit. The longer i was lost, the more frantic I became. Whew.. what a relief when I opened my eyes. Just another bad dream!

When Covid news spread early last year, our family had a trip to Singapore. I was complacently ignorant of the need to wear mask. On the plane, while hubby, Abi and Mimi were all wearing masks, I was the ‘pasaway.’ (Pasaway is a Tagalog term for naughty, truant.) I felt suffocated with a mask on my face. There was even someone behind us, who kept coughing and sniffling. Looking back, I was bad.. really pasaway!

God is gracious and merciful. He kept our family safe: in and out, to and fro, throughout the trip… thru the pandemic till today.

Today, I wear face shield on top of my glasses on top of double masks. It has become 2nd nature for me “not” to touch my face with my hands. I can’t anyway with all the coverings on it. It’s now a habit to wash my hands after i hold or touch anything from outside. When I talk to our driver, I stay quite a distance away from him. Or I phone or text him with errand instructions.

Everyday, during my walks in our driveway, I see our guards spraying alcohol on boxes, bags and whatever items they receive … all deliveries from outside. Then they spray alcohol on their hands even on the handles of the gates.
When I get vaccinated, I ‘NEED’ and I plan to do the same. Wear mask. Wash hands. Social distancing. Stay home as much as possible. Covid is getting closer and closer to home. Many friends and families are getting sick. Even those who do not go out are getting sick. As a friend observed, the virus is coming into the house even when we are not going out of the house.

Stay safe. Stay healthy, my friends. Be braver and wiser. Pray harder. Ask the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-knowing God for wisdom to live wisely in such a time as this.

Psalm 90:12 (NASB)
So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB)
‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

James 1:5 (NASB)
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Strong and Brave in Covid Times

Today, I read Joshua 19-21 – 3 chapters of names and places… names of the tribes of Israel and places in the promise land.
Read and see the last 3 verses of this passage.

Joshua 21
43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

What do u notice here? How did Joshua summarize his story? First, let’s review what happened before he began his story.

Deuteronomy 31:7
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.

Deuteronomy 31:23
The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”

Joshua 1:1-5
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Words are repeated for a reason. Be strong and courageous are often spoken to en’courage’ people in challenging times. Moses wrote these final words to Joshua in Deuteronomy. 3x God ‘commanded’ Joshua to be strong and brave. In all these verses, Joshua was given a task – to lead the people into the promise land. Now the task is done. They had finally conquered the land. The land was divided and given to the tribes to possess it.

Joshua concluded: The Lord gave…
v. 43 all the Land he promised to their ancestors to settle there.
v. 44a Rest on every side just as he had sworn to their ancestors.
v. 44b all enemies into their hands. No enemy withstood them.

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel (and to Joshua) failed; every one was fulfilled. v. 45

To ponder:
Is there a task for me to do? Why am I doing it? Is it from the Lord? How am I supposed to do it? Be strong by myself? Brave it and do it alone?

Which comes first? Be strong and brave, then do the task? Or do it and practice being strong and courageous along the way? Where do I draw my strength and courage? On what do I stand firm, strong and brave?

Be careful to obey all the law… do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. vv.. 7b-8

What is God’s law for me? Just 2: love God and love my neighbor. God promised that He will be with me wherever I go. His promise and command is the basis of my strength and courage. His presence is assurance for success.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Strength and courage for the task: that is one whole thing. They go together. Each day I need to live as God commanded and promised me.. to be strong and courageous to live the blessed life – a life of prosperity and success by His standard even in Covid times!

Read the Bible and know Jesus. Discover the good news and find out how to live the blessed life.

Our Daily Bread

Manna from heaven.. for all the years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God sent them bread from heaven called manna. Today, I read something new which I did not notice before…

Joshua 5
12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.

God gave food as needed all the years there were no food in the wilderness… when they had to travel from place to place; no planting, no harvesting… manna in the morning, quail in the evening, water from rocks where there was no water…

On the 14th day of the month after crossing the Jordan river, they celebrated the passover at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho and ate their first meal from the produce of the land. On this day, bread from heaven stopped falling.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray: Give us this day our daily bread. Our daily bread, God provides one day at a time. While we need to work and plan for the future, the reality of life is that we live one day at a time.

Especially in these times, life is predictably full of the unexpected. Many are dying, the old and the young… no one is exempted. A healthy person today might be dead after a few days or even tomorrow. No one knows when his time is up.

Did God tell the Israelites when he would stop sending manna? For all the years they were in the desert, from the day they left Egypt till the day they entered Canaan, their clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on their feet (Deut. 29:5).

Dear Lord, thank you for your provisions – one day at a time. Help me to live each day in joy and contentment, grateful for your gift of life, day by day, moment by moment. Amen.

Strong and Brave: The how’s and why’s of it

Have you ever tried taking up a job you’ve never done before… stepping into the shoes of someone whose feet might be too big for you? Someone whose epitaph was:

“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

After Moses died, God gave Joshua his first assignment.
He told Joshua to get ready to cross the Jordan River and lead the Israelites to enter the promise land. (vv. 1-2)

God’s promise: (vv. 3-5)
1) I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. How big is ‘every place?’ From the desert of Lebanon, from the great river, the Euphrates, all the Hittite country to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. (vv.3-4)

2) No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. You will be winning battles all your life! (v. 5a) How?
3) As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. (v. 5b)

God’s instructions: (vv. 6-9)
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” v. 6

God gave Joshua the reason why he needed to be strong and brave. He had a big job to do – to partner with God to fulfill His promise to their people.

“Be strong and ‘very’ courageous” (v. 7a). Repeated words are important… and VERY so! God ‘commanded’ Joshua 3x (vv. 6,7a,9). “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

The secret to being strong and brave…
1) Obey God’s command (vv.7b-8)
“Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

God’s Word is our roadmap for living. Life is about making the right choices… what to do, where to go, how to do, when to do, why do or do not do…

How do we let God’s Word be our guide? We need to always read it, say it, memorize it, think about it day and night, obey it – everything that is written in the Bible.

That… you may be successful wherever you go. (7b)
Then… you will be prosperous and successful. (8)

Successful and prosperous… not according to the worldly standard but according to God’s purpose and mission for me. To be successful is to be able to do what God tells me to do. To be prosperous is to claim God’s promise that He is with me wherever I will go. When God is with me, why then should I be afraid? When I am not afraid, I can be strong. My knees will not shake with fear.

2) Believe God’s promise (v. 9b)
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

When I worry, when I give up, is it because I doubt God’s presence? Is it because I think I might fail in the mission? Am I going to do it alone? Do I need to remember God’s promise and fully trust that the Lord, my God will be with me wherever I go?

Be strong and courageous. When someone tells me to be strong, it is a reminder that I am weak. I need to gear up. Strength and courage go together. I can grow weak with fear. When I take courage, it makes me stronger. Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of God, so they say. It is easier said than done. And it is possible by the grace and mercy of God.

Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. So help me, Lord. Amen.

The Why’s and How’s of God

Today’s passage is about the reasons why God did what he did with his chosen people – the Israelites.

Deuteronomy 7:7-9 The Chosen people

“The Lord did not [l]make you His beloved nor choose you because you were greater in number than any of the peoples, since you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of [m]slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps [n]His covenant and [o]His faithfulness to a thousand generations for those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Why did he choose them? Not because they were a big nation coz they were the tiniest group of people. God chose them because of who he is and what he does because of who he is – his character of love and faithfulness. He loved his chosen people and kept his promises to save them from slavery in Egypt.

Deuteronomy 8:2-6 The Wanderings in the Wilderness

And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, in order to humble you, putting you to the test, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you go hungry, and fed you with the manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, in order to make you [a]understand that man shall not live on bread alone, but man shall live on everything that comes out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. So you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to [b]fear Him. 

Why did he let them wander for 40 years in the desert? He wanted to teach them humility so they would depend on him and obey his word. So they would learn that man does not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the Lord. So they would learn lessons as he disciplined them as his children. So they would experience how God provided for them all thru 40 years – their clothing did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

Deuteronomy 8:11-18 Prosperity in the Promise Land

11 “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His commandments, His ordinances, and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, and you build good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks increase, and your silver and gold increase, and everything that you have increases, 14 then your heart will [c]become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of [d]slavery; 15 He who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions, and its thirsty ground where there was no water; He who brought water for you out of the rock of flint. 16 In the wilderness it was He who fed you manna which your fathers did not know, in order to humble you and in order to put you to the test, to do good for you [e]in the end. 17 Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 But you are to remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, in order to confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

God let them prosper because he is the Lord who kept his promises to bring them out of Egypt. He was the one who led them through the wilderness thru fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty group where there was no water. They survived 40 years of wandering in the wilderness because of who God is and for this reason, he did what he did, he gave them water to drink and food to eat. God did all these…
1) ‘in order to humble them and in order to put them to the test, to do good for them in the end’ (v.16)
2) so they may not say in their hearts that it is their power and the strength of their hands which made them wealthy (v.17).
3) to remind them that the Lord, God is the one who gives power to make wealth because he keeps his promises always (v. 18).

Deuteronomy 9:4-6 Victory over Enemies

“Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them away from [a]you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to take possession of this land.’ Rather, it is because of the [b]wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land, [c]but it is because of the [d]wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and in order to confirm the [e]oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Know, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a [f]stubborn people.

Why did God let them win over their enemies? Not because of their righteousness but because of the wickedness of the nations in the promise land. God wanted to teach them humility – that He chose them because of who he is not because of who they were or what they did. They were such stubbornly rebellious people!

Bottom line: God does what he does to discipline me to keep me humble lest I think that it is by my power and strength of my hands that I am doing well. God loves me and is graciously kind and faithful. He always keeps his promises because he is a righteous God. It is by his character that he did what he did with me, in me and through me. So that all will know that God is kind, just and righteous in all his ways.

Dear Lord, thank you for your love, grace and mercy. Let me live a life pleasing to you – to be humbly dependent on you, love you and obey you. Amen.