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©Michael Player

Chapter 8:1-6 (ESV)

Posted on February 13, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 8:1-6 (ESV) - “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. 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, 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. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 

Question to consider: If God tests us, why is it wrong for us to test God?

Back in chapter six, Moses had said, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.” (6:16) Outside of being another not-so-subtle dig at the Israelites for having acted in a way which invoked him to strike the rock a second time and be kept from the land, Moses made the point that while God may have tested them in the wilderness, they did not have the prerogative to test God.

If you think that sounds unfair, think about the motive behind their test of God and compare it with God’s motive for testing them. God made a promise to them that He would free them from slavery in Egypt and give them their own land flowing with milk and honey. Even though God had already fulfilled his first promise to free them from slavery in Egypt, their testing of God was wrapped in an accusation that God only freed them in order to bring them into the desert to die. We all know that the source of accusation and questions of God’s word comes from Satan (which means the Adversary).

In contrast, God tested them to humble them and to reveal to them what was in their heart. God would not have let them starve or thirst to death in the wilderness, for He promised to give them the land. The word that man should not live by bread alone should seem familiar to you, for Jesus quoted these words when Satan tried to convince Him to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger (Matthew 4:1-11). After forty days in the wilderness, Jesus was probably much more hungry and thirsty than His fellow Israelites, but He had faith that the Father would sustain Him through this test. In that case, the test was not intended to reveal to Jesus what was in His own heart but to reveal to Satan that Jesus was the seed of the woman who was prophesied to crush him. (Genesis 3:15)

The Israelites should have noticed that God kept their feet from swelling and clothes from wearing out after forty years. After having been slaves their entire lives, I would think they had experience with how easily feet can swell and clothes can wear out. Ultimately, the LORD took care of Israel and disciplined them as His children. The purpose of disciplining a child is to grow them up and prepare them to leave and start their own families. In this case, Israel was going to grow up and inherit the land and would face things that would try to pull them away from God and turn them from His commands.

The writer of Hebrews used this same idea for the church today (Hebrews 12:6) so we can consider our own times of testing to be God’s discipline designed to strengthen our faith and help us to walk more closely with Christ.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for disciplining us in order for us to walk more closely with Christ. Even if it’s painful at the time, we are thankful that You are perfecting our faith until the day Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. Amen.