Have you ever made a mistake? Did you learn anything from that mistake? If you did, congratulations. Mistakes are great teaching tools. It is too bad that the Israelites didn’t learn from the mistake of forgetting what God did for them, and we see the result of that forgetfulness in the passage from Deuteronomy 11:1-17.
The people’s firsthand knowledge of what God did for them in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in destroying Dathan and Abiram for their rebellion (as written in Numbers 16) should have caused them to love the Lord and always keep His commandments. The test of an Israelite’s love for God was his obedience to God. Similarly, the ultimate test of our love for God is our obedience to God. He wants us to worship and praise Him because He has done great and wonderful things for us and will continue to do great things for us in the future.
All of Israel’s history was guided by God to motivate them to love Him totally. Our history and our own lives have also been guided by God for the same reason. Our natural habit is to wander from God just like the Israelites. God sent the Israelites “to school” in the wilderness. He wanted them to depend on Him totally for their needs. God often takes us “to school” in our wilderness experiences or trying times so that we can learn to depend on Him totally for our needs.
Some of us are in the wilderness right now, just like the Israelites were for 40 years. The only way for us to get out of the wilderness is to go through it. We have to go through the waiting period, the desert or the dry spell. We are in the wilderness for a purpose. While we’re waiting and wandering through the wilderness, we have to keep a record of the lessons we’re learning. After all, these lessons can lead to success.
God wanted the Israelites to learn from their past, and He wants us to learn from our past as well. There is an old saying that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” If we don’t learn from our mistakes, our past or our sins, we will repeat them.
The most obvious and impressive difference between the lands of Canaan and Egypt was the source of water. Egypt was extremely productive for two reasons. The normal flow of the Nile River delivered sufficient water for the daily needs of the people and for foot-powered irrigation. The Nile’s floods renewed the soil and minerals every year. On the other hand, the land of Canaan (which the Israelites would cross over to possess) drank water from the rain of heaven.
Although God promised to give the people rain for the land, the promise depended on the people’s obedience and dedication to the Lord. If the people turned their heart from the Lord, He might well shut up the heavens. God provides for those who love and obey Him. In today’s uncertain world, it’s good for us to be in the hands of a loving God who knows what we need before we even ask Him for it.
As children of God, we’ve inherited His blessings, His freedom and His gifts. All we have to do is go in and possess them. When we move forward in faith, there’s no telling what God will do in us, through us and for us.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, p. 241-242)
- Maxwell, J.C. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 5: Deuteronomy (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 19897; pp. 161-164)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010; pp. 237-238)
- Christine Caine, “it’s Time to Possess.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Pastor Rick Warren, “Small Lessons Lead to Big Success.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org