“You shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you… For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land… And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you… [He] led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, [he] brought you water out of the flinty rock, [he] fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power.” Deuteronomy 8:2-5,7,10,15-16
When we use GPS, we are directed in the most efficient way to our destination, ‘although you will experience some traffic you are still on the fastest route.’ When we ask God for direction, we want quick and clear answers, a smooth path to our desired goal. But this is not how God usually works. He promises to lead us, yet His ways are “whole ways” that are intended for far more than we can imagine. For Israel, their journey to the promised land was fraught with hunger, pests, wandering, formidable enemies, all designed by a benevolent, all-knowing God Whose interest was in their faith, their strength in identity as His, their whole and humble dependence on Him, their wonder at His gracious and marvelous works. He was developing a holy people for Himself, not delivering a destination. (Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 55:8)
When I encounter obstacles, fog, impasses, unexpected turns along my way, do I look for what my loving Father might be teaching? Our natural tendency can be to shrug off the nettles, forge our way through pain, demand needs be met, quickly settle for fast food over heavenly nourishment, push push without considering what patience and trust can be learned in delays, what compassion and sympathy in heartache and suffering, what muscles can be developed when we are required to work harder, carry heavier, or resist more. The LORD’s end is always to do us good, His discipline to sanctify us to bear the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:5-11)
Father, lead me in Your whole ways. May I seek You above any other goal, remember You in every turn. Accomplish all You intend though my life’s path, for the praise of Your name and exaltation of Your greatness.