“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
The Book of Joshua holds a profound significance, encapsulating the transformation of the Israelites from a people wandering in the wilderness to those establishing themselves in Canaan. This transition mirrors the believers of Jesus who, akin to the “people of Canaan,” undergo a similar journey. It marks a pivotal shift, a momentous turning point laden with joy and hope.
The scene of Israelites entering the Canaan land unveils this transformative phase, notably highlighted when the Israelites transitioned from relying on manna to subsisting on the produce of the land. Deuteronomy 8 aptly links this shift, emphasizing the testing and humbling of the Israelites during their wilderness journey. The test of sustenance in the wilderness corresponds to contemporary challenges, such as the modern-day test of wealth or sustenance.
Anxiety, inherent even among those entering Canaan, stemmed from uncertainty about the future. The remedy, as emphasized, lies in faith. Christ’s teachings echo this sentiment, urging believers not to let their hearts be troubled but to foster unwavering faith in God.
Deuteronomy’s rich imagery depicts the promised land’s abundance, brimming with blessings – wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive trees and honey – a portrayal of divine provisions. He guides toward that very land—a vision for God’s people. And we stand within the gates. Then why do we still wander beyond? Remain steadfast; everything lies within our grasp. He guides us towards the land described in Deuteronomy 8:8. As we step into this territory, hold fast to obedience. Moses’ last sermons in Deuteronomy resonate: We’ve crossed over. We must recognize that, as believers of Jesus, we’ve already stepped into this land of abundance. Remember, you dwell within Canaan—this is where you are in your life.
This transition into Canaan is mirrored in Deuteronomy 11, emphasizing a land of plenty where blessings overflow. Yet, amidst this, a cautionary note surfaces: obedience to God’s commandments and the dangers of straying into idolatry. The essence lies in understanding that sustenance isn’t solely physical but also spiritual, in parallel with Jesus’ teachings on loving God wholeheartedly and loving one’s neighbor.
After commemorating the Passover at Gilgal, symbolizing God’s liberation of the Israelites from Egypt, a significant shift occurred among the Israelites. Following this celebration, the reliance on manna ceased abruptly after partaking of the land’s produce. The question arises: Did the availability of food in the land lead to the cessation of manna, or did the halt in manna prompt their reliance on the land’s produce? This signifies an end to seeking sustenance elsewhere; it’s time to harvest the fruits of one’s own labor and sweat. These words aren’t exclusive to the Israelites but resonate profoundly with Christ’s disciples, workers within God’s Kingdom.
Live anchored in faith, embracing the assurance of divine provision. Having received blessings, what follows next? Engage in continuous meditation on God’s Word, wholeheartedly loving Jehovah. Reflect on Deuteronomy 8’s counsel: When thriving, recall God’s role in our well-being. Resist the temptation of pride, recognizing that our prosperity doesn’t stem from our own strength. Instead, maintain reliance on God, akin to our wilderness days sustained by His providence through Manna.