Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.
Kendra Graham notes from : Deuteronomy 8:2-3
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Remember the LORD led you ALL the way in the wilderness, 40 years, to humble & test you to know your heart whether you would keep His commands. He caused you to hunger & fed you with manna to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but EVERY Word from the mouth of the LORD.
You don’t know you need to be #delivered until you need to be #delivered. God’s chosen people were to be a people set apart to be a great nation for God (Genesis 12), but they found themselves slaves under the control of Egypt. SO God, did the easy part: He saved Moses from death, brought him up in the house of Pharaoh, and sent massive plagues upon Egypt so that Pharaoh would let the people go. As millions of Israelites left Egypt, God was careful not to lead them the “logical” way out because it would bring them by way of the land of the Philistines and, “The people might see and change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt” (Exodus 13:17). God split the Red Sea in two, causing all of them to walk on dry land, thus saving them and causing the army of Egypt to be destroyed in front of their eyes (Exodus 14:16-17). There was no going back to Egypt at this point. God’s people had been called out and led out by God Himself into the wilderness. The wilderness was not an accident as we see here in these verses.
For over 400 years God’s people had been in Egypt where they had been trained to trust Egypt, and perhaps the gods of Egypt, to supply their needs instead of YAWEH, the LORD who was supposed to be Israel’s God. God #delivered Israel from Egypt physically, but now would come the hard part, to #deliver their hearts out of Egypt.
God’s people were #delivered and free, but that freedom is not for them to now do whatever they wanted to do. They were free to accomplish their purpose set apart from the beginning of time which is to know God and walk with God because they were created to need God. So God led them to the wilderness, a place of desolation, and danger and fear of the unknown, to see what was in their hearts. Were they really “all in” wanting to follow God and be His people, or was it just a convenient tag line to get them out of a bad situation? God would use the wilderness to do just that…discern what was in their hearts. Did God not know what was in their hearts? Of course! God knew what was in their hearts, but God wanted His people to know what was in their hearts. God was using the wilderness to teach them that dependence upon Him is not misplaced. God wanted to teach them that He would provide for their every need, even in the impossible situations. God wanted to teach them that He is faithful regardless of what their eyes see and their bodies feel.
This is hard concept for me to understand. God led His people to a place of hardship and suffering, on purpose, to humble them and test them. That seems cruel, and the spirit within me cries out with questions and fists in the direction of heaven. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and if He led His people back in the day to a place of humbling and testing, then surely He will do the same for us. This passage implies that there is a certain point at which God expects His people, the people called by His name, to be willing to give absolutely everything. It is in times of testing and suffering that we can see if our hearts are in this, or not.
Do we really believe what we say we believe or not? Is God really the God of the impossible, worthy to be praised and trusted with our very lives, or not? Is worshiping God a convenience that makes us feel good? Will we continue to follow Him even in the midst of anger, confusion and questions?
So God walked His people until they were literally ready to die of thirst to see how far they would go, trusting that God will provide their every need by His very Word when He says it. How long will they walk this thing out trusting that God will give them what they need to live? It is not about what they see, not about what they feel, it’s about the Truth of what they know in their hearts. Will they hold on to YAWEH by the skin of their teeth believing that it was indeed the LORD God that has led them out to this place. How many times did they have to go back to the awesome plagues to remember God was in this. How many times did they have to remind themselves that their eyes saw the Red Sea part on their behalf and God saved them from the world-power of the day? How many times did they have to look up into the sky as they were led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to remind themselves that they were indeed exactly where God had led them and He will lead them through and out on the other side?! How hard is this? It’s HARD.
Israel was being tested. It’s easier for us to read, because we can skip to the end. We know God provided. We know God led them into the promised land, We know God gave them the manna and the water they needed. Don’t skip over it so easily. Feel this with them for a minute. Remember, that after they had walked to the point of exhaustion and starvation, they came upon some water, only to find that it was bitter and they called the water “Marah” which meant bitter (Exodus 15). Your hopes are up for a second, and then dashed– can anyone relate? God let you down again. Still, even after water was found, they could not quench their thirst. What did the people do when they found this “Marah” water? Out of their mouths came Marah. They became Marah. Bitterness. Anger. Complaining. Fist shaking. Out of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). It’s almost like God just needed them to get it all out. Don’t sugar coat this thing. Don’t say you will follow Me, and then at the first sight of hard times, run for the hills. Don’t say you love Me and trust Me in the middle of these miracles of biblical proportion, then when the rubber hits the road, and things get hard, you change your mind and decide to rely on your own smarts and ingenuity to make it through. God allowed them to be in a situation where they couldn’t fix it. God had to do it. It was not 50/50, it was not 30/70, it was God 100% and the people 0%. It almost seemed as if God wanted to just get them to vomit out all of their grievances against Him, so that He could begin to teach them who He is, not who they assumed Him to be. Those grievances needed to come out, so they could be dealt with, not hidden under the rug to be ignored.
I love that as soon as their Marah, their bitterness came out, and the complaining and anger was put on the table, so that they could see what was in their hearts, God provided anyway. Exodus 15:25. In the midst of the anger and bitterness of the people, Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD said to throw that branch in the waters and immediately the waters became sweet. It was not until the WORD of the LORD was spoken that the people were provided for. Man does not live by bread or water alone BUT by the WORD of the LORD. Ahhhh, the people were not only being taught who they were, but who God is. God is grace in the middle of our Marah. God is provision in the middle of our need. God is the bread of life and living water, and how will we ever know who He really is if we do not have tremendous need?
We may have not been in a literal desert for 40 years, but many of us know this land. We know this suffering. We know this hardship. We know it more intimately than we care to remember. So God tests us, to know what is in our hearts. Will you hold to God’s evidenced promises and provision in the past and wait for His Word in the present when everything within you cries “Marah“?
In the end, this time in the desert became a place of remembrance and thankfulness. The desert became a place where Israel had a honeymoon of sorts with God, it was just God and them. Yes, it was a place of correction, but God redeemed that place and in looking back, it was a time where Israel learned complete and total dependence on an always faithful God.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
What desert, what wilderness put you to the test? When has God tested you so you could know what really is in your heart? How did that testing fare? Did you hold or fold? Do you realize that it is ok that all that Marah comes out? Are you at a point to allow God to deal with that Marah and show you in His Word His personal provision for you?
LIVE IT OUT:
Today spend time just being honest with God about the state of your heart. Take time to thank Him for those desert places that are now stories of redemption and faithfulness. If that desert place has not become that for you, and you are in the middle of it, thank Him for seeing the end and trusting that His faithfulness to His Word will be faithful even to you here and now.
Will any be willing to share their stories of how God was faithful to you in your desert place? I know this is hard for many, and don’t share if it’s too personal, but if any can share a story of redemption, perhaps it would encourage us in the middle of our desert wildernesses to hold on to the God we desperately want to follow and trust through it all.