“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes out of the mouth of the Lord” —Deuteronomy 8:3, NIV.
As Moses led the escapees from Egypt across the wilderness, they were faced with one of the many teaching points that God had in store for them.
He let them go hungry.
You would think that after all the miracles that God had done to get this newly formed nation out of captivity that he wouldn’t have forgotten the grocery list.
But he did—on purpose.
Then, when the Israelites realized that the supply of even their most basic needs depended on God, and not on them, he sent them manna to satisfy their hunger. That lesson would be relearned every single morning of their lives as they travelled in the desert.
We often question why God allows us to “hunger.” This hunger isn’t always wrapped in the need for a hamburger and fries. It sometimes comes in the form of challenges in our lives, difficulties, suffering, loss. All of these things happen, not because God “forgot” to look after them ahead of time, but because he needs to teach us a lesson.
To “teach someone a lesson” is a phrase we often use in reference to some form of punishment. But that isn’t how it is used in God’s vocabulary. When the collective stomach of Israel began to growl, there were two choices: complain about how unfair God was and how much better life had been before or, bend the knee and recognize that God was their only source of salvation. Most of us know that Israel did the former many times before she figured out the latter.
We so often do the same, don’t we?
When life takes a turn into a dark alley, hits a bump in the road, or seems strewn with stop signs and detours, it’s not that God has forgotten the GPS or left the roadmap behind. He’s simply keeping us, or getting us, on our knees. He is reminding us that we need him. We need to listen to him and we need to pay attention to what we hear from him. Life really DOES depend on it.