Summary: When we face times of hardship, it can be confusing and stressful. As God did when He dealt with the Israelites as they wandered for forty years, God has a purpose for you when you inflicted with hardships.
• SLIDE #1
• I think all of us either have, are, or will deal with hardships in our life.
• When we are a Christian, these times can be confusing to us because we have the idea that belonging to Jesus somehow shields us from hardships in life.
• Either while you are in the midst of a time of hardship, or sometime after, have you ever wondered what God is trying to accomplish as a result of your hardship?
• I bet we all have wondered or are wondering that right now.
• Today as we continue examining God’s deliverance of the nation of Israel from the clutches of the Egyptians, we move back a few chapters in the book of Deuteronomy to chapter 8.
• Remember, Deuteronomy covers the month of history leading up to the Israelites forty-year wait to get into the Promised Land.
• Also, remember that the book of Deuteronomy is the history of three sermons that Moses delivered to the people just before his death and the nation's entry into the Promised Land.
• The context of today's message is that Deuteronomy 8 is amid the second sermon Moses conveyed to the people, “What God Expects of Israel.”
• In this part of the message, God touches on the issue of the hardships the nation dealt with during their wandering through the wilderness for forty years as a result of being denied entry because of their disobedience.
• What we will understand today is that God tests our hearts through hardships as well as through abundance.
• We live in a world that will test us, and God will use those times to help us to see how much we need Him as well as a couple of other things we will examine today.
• Today we will be in Deuteronomy 8:1-20.
• Let us begin today in verses 1-3
• SLIDE #2
• Deuteronomy 8:2 (CSB) — 2 Remember that the LORD your God led you on the entire journey these forty years in the wilderness so that he might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
• SLIDE #3
Hardships are allowed in life to…
I. Humble our heart.
• As we have discussed, the Israelites faced a forty-year-long hardship of wandering around in the wilderness because of their lack of faith and disobedience toward God.
• God had been faithful to deliver the nation out of the grips of Egyptian slavery.
• God was providing for the Israelites and was protecting them, yet when it came time to possess the Promised Land, the nation refused to take possession of the land because they feared for their lives and wanted to return to a life of slavery in Egypt.
• Sometimes in life, our hardships are self-inflicted as was the case for the Israelites, and other times hardships tormented us through no fault of our own.
• In verse two, from which the bones of our message today is built, God said that He led the nation on the entire forty-year journey for three reasons, one of which was to humble the people.
• So, when we face hardships, God can use the hardships to humble us.
• One thing we need to understand concerning the thought of being humbled.
• The word Humble is not used in the sense of “humiliate” but means to make the people submissive and teachable, to get rid of their proud sense of self-sufficiency as they endure all sorts of hardships.
• Hardships can re-center our focus on God.
• God was seeking to help the people understand that He was with them and that they could trust Him.
• Look at verses 3-4
• SLIDE #4
• Deuteronomy 8:3–4 (CSB) — 3 He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then he gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothing did not wear out, and your feet did not swell these forty years.
• He did this by allowing them to hunger and then to be fed by the miraculous supply of manna (Exod 16:1–30; Num 11:4–9), an act so clearly supernatural that the people had to recognize that it was all of God and not of themselves (v. 3; cf. Exod 16:32). Merrill, E. H. (1994). Deuteronomy (Vol. 4, pp. 185–186). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
• When God is trying to humble us, He tries to do so for our benefit. It is not about forced submission, He could do that, it is about wanting what is best for you.