December 1 I Sunday
2 Peter 3
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.” —Deuteronomy 8:2
Some of us may think the Christian life is like taking a stroll in the sunshine through a beautiful rose garden by a babbling brook and then arriving on warm summit uplands. While the Christian life is a journey to a wonderful glorious destination, the journey itself is a road through a desert. In fact, desert roads are often spoken of in Scripture as noble places to be.
Isaiah tells us, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). There is a road and a highway but it is in the desert. We find that deserts are part and parcel of our Christian life because we learn things we would never learn on the highway of comfort. One of the best ways of knowing what is in our hearts is getting into difficult times. These difficult times will either draw out of us pride, resistance, arrogance and self-defence or a spirit of humility.
In the Christian life, there are no grounds for anything other than humility. A proud Christian is an oxymoron and an arrogant Christian is an offense because they are denying what they claim to believe as a Christian—we are recipients of grace and grace alone.
We must realize that apart from Christ, we are nothing, can do nothing and are separate from God forever.
In recognizing this, we can only walk humbly.
But we have to be reminded of that, which is why God deprived the Israelites of food in the desert. He fed them manna that would keep them alive while also humbling them as Moses tells us, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Hosea 13:6 also looks at times when the Israelites were in the wilderness saying, “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.” What is the issue? When the Israelites had plenty and were satisfied, they became proud and forgot about God.
This is why the doctrine of prosperity is insidious—it does not create humility or a serving Spirit of God working in our hearts. We may travel to developing countries to meet materially deprived Christians and discover a rich experience of God in their hearts. There is neither virtue in poverty nor virtue in riches, but an easier baggage to carry that keeps us dependent and humble before God is being deprived, not overabundance. As we journey through the desert road, may our hearts become humbled as we remember that God is our great provider.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You that the Christian life is not a highway of comfort but a hard desert road. Thank You for using it to remind me to humble my heart in reliance upon You. Praise You!