Couldn’t imagine such a little text having such a potentially big impact. Someone I met with Sunday afternoon texted me Monday morning with, “Pete, I am running a low fever today.” Not words you want to hear at this current time in this current situation. So whaddya do?
Stayed home. Canceled commitments. Got myself a Zoom account for a meeting planned that night. Thought lots. Prayed lots. (Oh yeah, and I got my taxes done . . . praise God!).
Not to overuse an overused word, but this really is an unprecedented time. And, as pandemics have a way of doing, I can say, without exaggeration, it’s an unprecedented time for all of us!
So here’s what grabbed me as I was reading this morning:
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.
(Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV)
Not too likely this is going to be a “40 years in the wilderness” experience, but it’s certainly going to be at least 40 days in uncharted territory. In Deuteronomy Moses points out what God was doing to that generation which was just emerging from doing laps around Sinai. Wondering if we might be wise to heed their “lessons learned” as we walk into a season of doing laps around our homes.
God wants to humble us. Uh, mission accomplished. For all the self-determined power we think we might have, all the self-directed freedom we think we’ve created through our own wisdom and works, it’s kind of jaw-dropping what a combo of a few letters and couple of numbers (think COVID-19) can do to turn our world literally upside down. Kind of humbling.
Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is [God] who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
Grasshoppers! Good grief! Who’s gonna name their elite sports team “The Grasshoppers” or their league the GFL? Who’s gonna dedicate their million dollar science and research building to someone named “Grasshopper”? Who’s gonna build a workout facility and call it “Grasshoppers’ Gym”? Unless we specialize in entomology, most of us never think about grasshoppers except maybe, as Boomers, when we think Jiminy Cricket, or, as a back-to-the-basics foodies, we’re eating them.
God has a way of allowing things to come into our lives, in this case our collective lives, to humble us. Why? To test us. To know what’s in our heart. To shine a spotlight. To do some housecleaning, if necessary.
Pride, be gone. Self-sufficiency, take a hike. Confidence in my material accumulations, don’t look at what’s happening in the market. Instead, look up, look way up. Behold our God!
And He led the children of deliverance into the wilderness to see “whether you would keep His commandments or not.” And as we head into this season of trying to navigate this uncharted territory some of the commandments that might come to mind immediately are: “Fear not . . .” (Isa. 41:10); “Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . . ” (Prov. 3:5-6); “Love one another . . . ” (Jn 13:34); “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone . . . ” (Gal. 6:10); “Be ready with an answer . . .” (1Pet. 3:15).
Unprecedented (there’s that word again) days. Unchanging God. Unfaltering faithfulness. Unfailing hope. Inexhaustible grace.
Humbled so that our hearts might be tested.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
(Psalm 139:23-24 ESV)
Humbled so that He might be known through our obedience.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” ~ Jesus
(John 10:27 ESV)
Humbled so that we might stand fast.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
(1Peter 5:6-7 ESV)
By His grace. For His glory.
p.s. Texted my friend before turning in last night. Fever false alarm. Whew!