God is generous. God keeps His promises. God's blessings are intended to make us grateful, humble, and faithful. God is patient and kind. He does not always explain everything He is doing, but He does explain what He wants (Micah 6:8).
The eighth chapter of Deuteronomy is a classic explanation of God teaching us to manage our blessings well. An entire generation of Israelites had failed to do this. Of those who were wonderfully delivered from the bondage of Egypt and brought through the wilderness, only two people were left to enter the promised land of prosperity. The rest had grumbled and rebelled until the LORD declared that their ungratefulness and unbelief rendered them unfit for the blessings that God had prepared for the nation. Forty years they wandered in circles until they all died off, except for Joshua and Caleb. It would be the children who would inherit the promised land of Canaan. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is giving instructions to the new generation that will receive the blessings and responsibilities of being one nation directly ruled by God. Moses will reteach what had been said to their parents. He will also give them more, as they look in retrospect at what had happened to the previous generation. This story is the foundation of many other lessons taught throughout Scripture (Psalm 78; 106; I Corinthians 10:1-14; Hebrews 3:5 - 4:11).
Deuteronomy chapter eight summarizes what the entire book is about: "Don't get side-tracked! Don't forget the LORD. He is the whole reason you have the blessings that you are able to enjoy. Be careful to fulfill the purposes for which God gave you those blessings. Remember the LORD!" See Deuteronomy 8:18; 29:29.
Here is our outline of what we will study from the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy:
The Promise of Prosperity - Deuteronomy 8:1
The Path of Humility - Deuteronomy 8:2-3
The Perspective of Faith - Deuteronomy 8:4-9
The Perils of Forgetfulness - Deuteronomy 8:10-17
The Persistence of Remembering the LORD - Deuteronomy 8:18-20
The Path of Humility (Deuteronomy 8:2-3) - Israel is being called to remember the way that the Lord led them. Our lives are like a story that is being told or read. We need to go back and review previous chapters of our lives. There are lessons to be learned from the past. We need to identify and consider the work of God that is going on in our lives. We do not simply experience good or bad luck. Our lives are in His hands (Psalm 73:23-28; 90:1,16-17; 92:4; 103:1-5; 139:1-6; 143:5-6; Acts 17:24-28). The path of humility is to live, recognizing all that we have and all that we ever hope to be depends on the blessing of God. More than our physical food, we need to feed on God's Word.
- The LORD leads us through a wilderness - We like to think that God is going to give us an easy path if we follow Him. The fact is that we are in a world that can be described as a spiritual wilderness. Physically, the world is dangerous, but spiritually it is even more treacherous. It is called "This present evil world." Satan is called "The god of this world." We are told that the whole world lies in wickedness (literally, "the wicked one."). It is a wilderness of false ideas, and doctrines of demons - lies that turn people from following the Word of God. See Galatians 1:3-4; Ephesians 2:1-7; II Corinthians 4:3-4; 10:3-5; I Timothy 4:1-2; II Timothy 4:3-4; I John 4:1-6; 5:19.
The Son of God was led / driven into the wilderness to face the temptations of the Devil. He overcame those temptations, using the Word of God (three quotes from Deuteronomy - Matthew 4:4, 7, 10 cp. Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:16, 13-14). Christ overcame the world and the Devil. He also triumphed over sin and death. Through Him we also can overcome the world. See Matthew 4:1-11 (Mark 1:12 cp. 10:16); John 16:33; Hebrews 2:14-15; I John 3:8; 5:4-5.
The LORD will lead you all the way - The Lord does not abandon us. If God calls you to endure difficulties, grief, and suffering, then He will go through it with you. Don't forget or abandon Him during hard times! See Psalm 23:1-6; Hebrews 13:5 (cp. Deuteronomy 31:6, 8); Matthew 28:18-20 (cp. 10:16); Romans 8:28-39. [Note that God's love is not just a status. His love is active. He stays involved with us every step.]
- The LORD humbles us - God knows it is good for man to be humble. Pride ruins everything. Humility is primarily focused on comparing ourselves with God, not with other men. Humility says, "I need the LORD." Where would I be without Him? See Proverbs 8:13; Micah 6:8; James 4:6-10; I Peter 5:5-6 cp. Psalm 10; Psalm 73:23-28.
- The LORD proves / tests us - God often gives the test first, then the lesson afterwards. Before life experiences can benefit us, they must first reveal us. We are in God's school - with life experiences and Scripture to teach us. See James 1:2-8; Romans 5:1-5; Psalm 90:12; 139; Proverbs 16:2; 20:27.
- The LORD lets us be hungry and then feed us - God will not forsake us, but He will use the lack of things to teach us priorities and values that will help us depend on Him. See Philippians 4:11-13, 19; Psalm 34:19; 37:1-11; 119:67, 71, 75; Job 13:15.
- The LORD teaches us to depend on His Word - We naturally care for our physical needs. It is God's purpose to stretch our horizons and direct us to care for our soul also - to get us to be concerned about eternity and a relationship with Him. If you want a relationship with God after this life, you should be sure to get a relationship with God, through Christ, in this life. The Word of God is your soul-food. See Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 19:7-11; Matthew 4:1-4; 6:19-34; 16:24-26; John 5:24; 6:26-35, 63; 8:30-32; 14:6; I Peter 1:18 - 2:3.