Moses reminds the Israelites to obey God’s commandments as they are about to enter into the Promised Land. Everything they experienced in the wilderness was meant to teach them humility and dependence through the loving discipline of God. Just as a father disciplines his child, God wanted to teach the Israelites that man does not live on bread alone but on every word proceeding from God. Our trials and hardships are not random instances of unnecessary suffering; rather they form us to have teachable hearts so that we might learn to depend on the One who is always trustworthy. They are meant to focus our attention and worship toward Him alone.
When the Israelites were hungry and thirsty, God fed them with manna and water, and when poisonous snakes and scorpions came, God protected them from harm. God put Israel through these hardships to humble and prepare them for life in the Promised Land. But the first generation in the wilderness did not enter into the Promised Land because of their lack of faith. Once they settled comfortably, they allowed their hearts to be led astray. The history of Israel sounds a lot like our own spiritual life, our hearts wander and chase after fleeting pleasures of sin, seeking out sources of security of our own other than God. How has God disciplined you through hardships and trials? In what areas is God trying to teach you humility and dependence?
May we never forget His goodness to us. We are included, loved, and cared for by a God, who has plans not only for Israel, but also the entire world. In this truth we find meaning, inspiration, and encouragement as well as a message that the world needs to hear.