“And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 29:5-6).
Have you ever wished that you had more money in the bank or the means to purchase a newer car, a bigger house, or the latest smart phone? If God loves us and wants us to be “happy” why doesn’t He give us all the things we want? Actually, it is because God loves us and wants our lives to be filled with joy and peace that He doesn’t let us have all the things our hearts at times may desire.
As Moses spoke to the generation of the children of Israel that had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, we learn from his speech why God did not give them an overabundance of things to eat and enjoy. During this time, with exception of eating quail on a couple of occasions, they had eaten only manna which God had provided from heaven (Exodus 16:4; Joshua 5:12). Their drink was only water. In contrast, when they had been slaves in Egypt, they had been provided a greater assortment of foods to eat and beverages to drink (Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:4-6). Finding themselves in these circumstances, many in Israel came to loath the manna which God had provided for them to eat (Numbers 21:5).
This begs the question, “Why did God only give them manna to eat?” As the opening verse indicates, God had provided for the things which were necessary to sustain their physical lives. They were adequately clothed and fed. He didn’t give them an excessive abundance, but he didn’t make it where they had to barely scrape by either. All of this was done that they “may know that I am the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 29:6).
Christ spoke about the need for his followers to develop a child-like faith (Matthew 18:1-3). Children, who are raised by parents who love them and strive to provide for them, have a complete trust that their parents will provide for their daily food, clothing, and shelter. These children do not generally fret about where their next meal, set of clothing, or roof over their head is going to come from. They “know” that their parents love them and will care for them.
Many of us need to go back to developing a child-like faith in God. As we get older and start earning a living, many times it is very tempting to begin trusting in ourselves or our employer to provide for our daily needs. As difficult as it is, we should rejoice when circumstances happen in our lives that prevent us from having a super abundance of material goods. These financial setbacks, whether it is a lost job or an unexpected large bill we have to pay, help remind us that we need to trust in our Heavenly Father to provide for us. In turn, this helps us to develop that “child-like faith” in God and helps us to “know that the Lord is God”.
There is nothing wrong with being wealthy, but there are many temptations that can come to those who are wealthy (e.g. Matthew 19:23-24; 1 Timothy 6:10). If I am not wealthy I can rejoice that God has spared me of having to face these temptations. Today I will rejoice that God provides for my daily necessities and I will trust in Him that He is the Lord God!”
“Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches-- Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:7-9).