Wilderness Experiences

Deuteronomy Chapter 8

"There are those who walk in gloom,
But there are those who walk in light;
There are those tempted, overcome,
But victors as well in the fight.
Shine or shade, vanquished or winning,
By Thy grace shield us from sinning. "

If we were half as anxious to be saved from sin as we are to be kept from sorrow it would be a wholesome fear. This chapter is very rich in suggestive thought. The great cardinal blessings that should characterise every Christian life are here indicated.

There are four blessings mentioned in the first verse as the result of obedience. (1) Life: "Ye may live. " (2) Fruitfulness: "Multiply. " (3) Progress: "Go in. " (4) Possession: "Possess the land. "

The Christian life is-

I. A Life Under the Guidance of God. "The Lord thy God led thee" (Deuteronomy 8:2). He led them in the pillar of cloud and fire. The fiery cloud was to them what the Word of God is to us-spirit and power. The Holy Ghost shall guide you into all truth (Joh 16:13). As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.

II. A Life of Humility before God. "Thy God led thee to humble thee" (Deuteronomy 8:2). We would never of ourselves choose the self-humbling path. To be humbled is just to be put into that position in which God Himself can find more room in our lives. The process of proving is always painful, but profitable. It is to bring out what is in our hearts that we may be in God's sight either approved or condemned (Gen 22:12; 2 Chron. 31, 32).

III. A Life Sustained from God. "He fed thee with manna" (Deuteronomy 8:3). "He brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint" (Deuteronomy 8:15). The sustenance of their life was as miraculous as their salvation. "The Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven and giveth life unto the world" (John 6). Christ not only saves but satisfies (Php 4:19). If any man eat this bread he shall live for ever. The Word was God, and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

IV. A Life of Dependence on God. "By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live" (Deuteronomy 8:3). Words are for the hearing of faith. We live by faith on the Son of God. "Thy words were found, and I did cat them" (Jer 15:16). There is in the Word of God that which exactly suits every spiritual constitution. "They did all eat the same spiritual meat. " Lord, to whom can we go? Thou only hast the words of eternal life.

V. A Life of Hope in God. In Deuteronomy 8:7-9 there is given a description of the good land that lay before them, so that they were to forget the things that were behind, and Dress on to the better things before. "Press on that ye may obtain" (Php 3:12-14) and receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of souls (1Pe 1:9) (Alford). We hope in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the hope of His coming that not only leads to the salvation of others, but also to the purification of ourselves (1Jn 3:3).

VI. A Life of Praise to God. "When thou art full, then shalt thou bless the Lord thy God" (Deuteronomy 8:10). The Lord would have us to praise Him with a full heart. The lean are sure to cry out about their leanness (Isa 24:16). They cannot glory in their infirmities. It is the satisfied that bless the Lord (Psa 103:1-5). He that eateth to the Lord will be sure to give thanks (Rom 14:6). The hungry soul cries: Lord bless me. The satisfied soul says: Lord, I bless Thee. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.

VII. A Life Empowered by God. "The Lord thy God giveth thee power to get wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:18). In saving His people out of the poverty of Egypt; in sustaining them in a waste, howling wilderness; in leading them into the land of promise and of plenty He was giving them power to get wealth. The power, then, was that which enabled them to lay hold on, and take possession of, the fuller gifts of His grace. This power we have in the Holy Spirit, who by His sustaining and guiding presence enables us to lay hold on and enter into the possession of the fulness of the blessing in Christ Jesus our Lord. In the gift of the Spirit God has given us power to get wealth-the wealth of Christ's unsearchable riches now, and the wealth of His unspeakable glory hereafter. This blessing of the Lord it maketh rich. Why cry out about your leanness and poverty when God hath given thee power to get wealth? Buy of Me, that thou mayest be rich (Rev 3:18). Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

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