Trials, Israelites, and Spiritual Readiness

Do you prefer comfort and ease over spiritual readiness?

“Deuteronomy 8 tells us that God had a purpose for each trial. In each one, God sought to do three things for the Isrealites: to teach, humble, and discipline them. Why?

First, God was preparing them for the spiritual obstacles they would face in the sufferings and blessings of the Promised Land. They needed to experience trials in order to understand that no matter what things looked like, God’s hand would sustain them. Like all sinners, the Israelites could easily drift into autonomy and self-sufficiency.

Second, they needed to see the propensity of their own hearts to drift away from trusting God and obeying his commands.

Third, they needed to see regular demonstrations of God’s power, so that they would not fear the things they could not defeat on their own.

These trials did not call God’s character into question; rather, they stand as signs of his covenant-keeping love. God knows exactly what he is doing! His eyes are on each of his children and his ears are attentive to each cry. But God will turn up the Heat to give his children what they need to face the challenges ahead.

The problem with the Israelites was not that they faced trials, but what they did with them. Israel’s troubles were in the thoughts and desires of their hearts. They interpreted their trials incorrectly and saw them as reasons to doubt God’s goodness, not as proof of it. They preferred comfort and ease over spiritual readiness for the trials that awaited them in the Promised Land.

In that way, the people of Israel are just like us. If you are humbly honest, you will admit that their responses are familiar. You’ve done the same things in moments of trial. You’ve become irritable and angry. You’ve looked for someone to blame. You’ve even questioned the goodness of the God you say you love. That is why Paul says that these incidents were recorded for us (1 Cor. 10) as warnings, to keep us from falling into the same pattern of doubt and sin.”
How People Change, p. 114

Turn from questioning God, to examining yourself and asking God to give you understanding.

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About Aaron Golby

Christian. Husband to Katherine.
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