Even in the Wilderness, You Lack Nothing

“For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” Deuteronomy 2:7

This week, while studying through the Book of Deuteronomy, I was really struck by the life-giving words found in these chapters. Even though the Book of Deuteronomy (alongside Exodus and Numbers) isn’t wisdom literature, per se, there is so much valuable wisdom in these chapters. There’s a reason the Book of Deuteronomy, after the books of Psalms and Isaiah, is alluded to in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament book.

Jesus and His apostles teach from Deuteronomy to remind the people of one main thing: their covenant with God. His covenant and His promises are everlasting. Deuteronomy 4:30-31 states, “When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you.” What hope there is in this!

Even though the Israelites made up other idols for themselves, even though they failed to put their trust in God, even though they complained left and right, God didn’t discard His promise to His people. Thankfully, there was a Moses. And, even though he had his share of leadership mistakes, he led with a God-given authority, which ultimately led to the deliverance of a nation.

Wherever you may find yourself today, my prayer for you and I is that we would not get so focused on our unfair circumstances or the length of time spent in the wilderness that we try to take control of what rightfully needs to be surrendered into the hands of the LORD. So often we become consumed by worry and anxiety, that we fail to recognize, like the Israelites, that we are placing our trust in ourselves, instead of God. In my own life, I am thankful for godly leadership and the Word of God that consistently points me back to the truth of Scripture: God will never leave us nor forsake us. His promise to the church is everlasting.

Even in the middle of unanswered prayers, we can look at the truth of Scripture and be filled with joy, that we are living in the overflow of generations of answered prayers. Today, you and I, no matter where we may find ourselves, have direct access to our King. When we choose to heed the Word of the LORD and lay aside our pride, our anger, our need for control, our worries, our fears, at the feet of Jesus, we find peace unimaginable.

Isaiah 26:3 states, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You Because he trusts in You.” Trust in the LORD. Lean not on your own understanding. Those are His words, not mine. Because when you study the Scriptures of old, you find that when man chose to place his trust in self and his circumstances, instead of trusting in the LORD, it led to a delay on the promises of God. How many of us are delaying what God is wanting to do in our lives because our speech is filled with complaints? Like the Israelites, we are looking back to the past, yet God’s plans are moving forward. The reason the Israelites wandered for forty years isn’t that they had terrible navigation skills. But, it’s because they didn’t trust God’s Word. When God promised the land to the Israelites, He revealed to them that it was a good land. But, their discomfort with their present circumstances clouded their vision. They failed to see the good that lay before them and took matters into their own hands.

We read the story of the Israelites and shake our heads, but really, how often are we quick to respond just like the Israelites. This is why Moses commanded them in Deuteronomy 4:9-10 to continually teach the Word of the LORD, so that through His sanctifying power, they might never forget that their strength, security, joy, future, is found in Him alone. Just as Moses commanded Joshua and the Israelites, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6), we too must hold fast to these words.

We are finite in understanding. Whereas we are bound by time and our resources, God is outside of it all. A God who is not bound by anything is a God that we can entrust our limits with. As Jen Wilkin writes in her book, None Like Him, “The past holds for him no missed opportunity. The present holds for him no anxiety. The future holds for him no uncertainty. He was and is and is to come.” How thankful I am, to be loved and known by a God who is in my past, present and future, who reminds us that if He isn’t worried about it, then neither should we be. Of course, this is easier said than done. But, it is possible. Every day, when the heat and the discomfort of my “wilderness” overwhelm me, the Lord reminds me that I have two choices that lay before me. We all do. Will I truly trust in Him or will I place my trust in my own abilities, resources, and knowledge? The first option is the better option. It is a conscious effort on our part, that through the reading of His Word, through prayer, through turning our attention towards His sovereignty and omnipotence in worship, that we find we have received everything we need to make it through the wilderness and into the promised land. Through our trudging in the wilderness, we discover that God has been so so faithful. No matter how many years it’s been or how long the trial has lasted, God has never forsaken or left His children. He has supplied all our needs. This is one of the most beautiful truths of life. Even in the wilderness, we lack nothing.

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