“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.”
We can easily take God’s provision for granted. We seldom take notice or thank God, for example, when our car doesn’t break down, our clothes don’t rip, or our tools don’t break. The people of Israel also failed to take notice, evidently, for they didn’t even notice that in 40 years of wandering in the desert, their clothes didn’t wear out and their feet didn’t swell. Thus, they did not remember to give thanks to God for those blessings.
At other times, we can make these objects the focus of our lives. Many people think that life’s purpose is to satisfy their appetites. If they can earn enough money to dress, eat, and play in high style, they think they are living “the good life.” But such things do not satisfy our deepest longings. In the end they leave us empty and dissatisfied. Real life, according to Moses, comes from total commitment to God, the one who created life itself. It requires discipline, sacrifice, and hard work, and that’s why most people never find it.
We can veer off course both to the right and to the left. We can ignore the goods that sustain our lives, and we can focus on them too much. Both extremes are mistaken. Instead, we need to remember what God has given us and receive it with thanksgiving.
What has been working well for you? What has been serving you without breaking? Remember that God gave you these quiet blessings.