Deuteronomy 8:2 (ESV) “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.”
God led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years. It was not easy roaming around in the wilderness. They had no homeland. They moved from place to place. It had to be tiring and frustrating for the people of Israel. The Bible, in Deut 8:2 points out a very specific purpose for their wilderness experience. God wanted to humble them. This is the same word we saw in Psalm 119:67 translated “afflicted”. By humbling them in their wilderness experience, God was able to remove some of the obstacles that prevented their growth as people of God.
The verse then says that He humbled them so He would know their hearts. I ask myself… ”Why would God need to test the people to know their hearts? He knows the heart of man better than man knows his own heart.” Think of it this way. Have you ever asked a difficult question of your children for which you already knew the answer? You may coach them along a little bit depending on their knowledge level and age. You watch them wrestle with it. You can “see the wheels turning” in their mind. Eventually, they get the right answer. They arrive at the conclusion you already knew. And when they finally get it right they have learned the more for having “worked“ for the answer.
Oftentimes, our Heavenly Father does the same with us. He “Tests us to know what is in our hearts”. In all actuality He wants us to know what is in our hearts. He gives us a problem to wrestle with. He knows the answer and could easily give it to us. But then we would lose out on the growth that comes from experience. We need the hard times and trials of life so we can come to know ourselves. As we go through life we can deceive ourselves into thinking everything is OK. All is well. We are doing just fine. Our lives are in perfect harmony. Or so we think. Then God places us in a difficult circumstance or trial and we begin to see just how “not so good” things are. Our eyes are opened to our shortcomings. We learn just how frail we really are.
This is a good thing! For when we see ourselves in our weakness, we have no real choice but to cling to His strength. Trusting completely in Him is such a great place to be. Think about it! He looks deep within our hearts and sees an area of weakness. He gives us the “question” like a Father does a small child. He coaches us and guides us to the desired conclusion. He cares for us all along the rocky road until we reach the “answer” to the question. We are humbled. The light finally comes on and we see within ourselves what He knew all along. Our gracious Heavenly Father has, faithfully helped us to grow more into the likeness of His Son.
I want to encourage you in your trials of life to allow God to show you who you really are deep down inside. It may not be easy but it will be worth the effort. Your walk with Him will be sweeter and more intimate. Let God work through your trial to humble you and draw you closer to Him. Let Him remove some of the “you” that gets in the way of a deeper relationship with Him. God bless you!