“And 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, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but… 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. So you shall keep [his] commandments by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 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.
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God… lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them,.. your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord, who brought you out of… slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness,.. that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end… You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power.” Deuteronomy 8:2-7,10-12,14-16,18
Forty years is a long time, and God wants His people to remember His leading and provision and lessons through them all– their captivity and His miraculous split of the Red Sea to their freedom, the unknown path through wilderness and His pillars of fire and cloud, their hunger pangs and His provision of manna and quail, their parched thirst and the water flowing from rock, their viper bites and His healing. Whose sandals would not wear thin after four decades of walking unpaved land? What leader could remain steady and vigorous through hundreds of months with grumbling cohorts? Only God could have brought them this far. (Exodus 13:21-22; 14:21-22; 16:13-15; 17:6; Numbers 21:6-9)
The whole way God leads us is to do us good in the end. How quickly we can choke in the pressure of the urgent, high emotions of the moment, tangling difficulties, arresting set-backs, lack and loss, consuming sorrow, and forget to consider the whole way. And once we are relieved of weighty burdens, we can drift into ease and smugness and forget God altogether. His eye is on us from beginning to end. He is always working good that results in conformation to His image and ultimate glory for those who love Him. From a place of broad perspective, would we want anything less? (Deuteronomy 11:12; Psalm 34:15; Romans 8:28-30)
We know God best when we consider His whole counsel and method in our sanctification. Will we accept and expect His good for us through every test?
Lord, keep my hope in You, not circumstances. Give me eyes to see Your hand and Your glorious ends.