Friday, April 22, 2016

Lesson #5
Deuteronomy 8:3, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
Our part of the verse to study this morning is that which says, "which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know." There is a lot to be said about what we don't know. As a matter of fact, the name "Google" about sums it all up! The older I get, it seems the less I know. At the same time, our biggest problem is not in what we don't know, but what we can't recall or retrieve from memory. There is still much, however, that we just plainly do not know.
Let's take this a step further. What do you not know about God? Since God is an infinite Being, even what we know about God is the equivalent of nothing, for we are no closer to knowing Him more than before! Our knowledge of God is limited by two things (I could be corrected here) 1. Our knowledge, belief, and adherence to doctrine, and 2. Our imagination. We are told of a man, a lord, who had lost his imagination in 2 Kings 7:2, "Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof." If we lose our imagination, we have lost our hope. If you leave here with anything this morning, leave with this, GOD CAN DO ANYTHING!
God can do anything in Our Provision. In our verse we are reminded that just because we have not seen it, does not mean that God can't do it. It even talks about the generation before and that their knowledge had fallen short of God's great provision. Isaiah 43:19 tells us, "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." God loves to do new things. Jesus whole ministry was marked by this thought as it was said of Him in Mark 2:12, "they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion."
God can do anything in Our Prayer. Do you believe in prayer? We don't pray because we don't believe. We don't receive because we don't pray. Yet it is God that told His people in Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Oh, how I want to hear those things that I have never heard! How I want to see those things that I have never known!
God can do anything in His Plans. God does not have to report to us. As a matter of fact, we don't have to know what God has planned. We just have to follow! There are many things that God has told us about the future. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." This revelation, however, is not all at once. It is a daily walk, a constant filling, a dedicated study, and a willful trust that pleases God and illumines us to His revelation. Isaiah 45:3 says, "And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." I hope this makes you want to study the precious Word! Another verse that blesses me is Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." God will reveal those "secrets" according to His will as we follow Him and serve Him obediently.
God can do anything in His Power. I'll say this, the Devil knows what God can do. He tried to even tempt Him with His own power. Matthew 4:3 says, "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." That is quite an imagination! How is it that the Devil himself believes in God's power more than God's own children? May we have the same view of the power of our God as the Psalmist said in 136:4, "To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever." If for some reason you are yet skeptical of the power of God or of His love to you, please hear Revelation 19:6 loudly, "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lesson #4
Deuteronomy 8:3, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
Today's lesson is on the two words, "with manna."
It was a Work of Victory! The word "manna" occurs in 17 verses in the Bible. That is the number of victory! It was victory over certain death in the wilderness. victory over the oppression of their rulers from centuries before. It was victory over their failure to obey the Lord that committed them to forty years in the wilderness. This gave them the way through.
It was a Work of Value! How much would it cost to feed millions in the wilderness? God never gave them the money to do it for themselves but supplied what was needed each and every day.
It was a Work of Volume! It was enough! They did not have any left over, but it was enough. Enough is all that we need! We have enough of Christ, enough of the Word, enough of the Holy Ghost, and enough of His promises.
It was a Work of Vagueness! They had no idea what it was. Exodus 16:15 says, "And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was." The word manna literally means, "What is it?" Though it may be uncertain to you, it is not uncertain to God. Just because you don't understand it, does not mean that God doesn't. We are told in Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
It was a Work of Victuals! Is it not what they needed? And was it not good? Better than Frosted Flakes and Sugar Smacks, nothing was more pleasing than this manna. Exodus 16:31 tells us that it was pleasant, "and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." Again in Numbers 11 we are told, "the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil." What pleasant things God has to give His people. Learn to love the things that God would give you. Perhaps our taste needs to change to love the things that God loves.
It was a Work of Vision! The Bible talks about how that they came out in the morning and the earth was covered with a small, white, round thing. Numbers 11:7 tells us that the color of it was like bdellium and the shape was like coriander seed. 
It was a Work of Visitation! Every morning was a testament that God had visited them. Each time the tent flap opened for the first time in the morning, the faithfulness of God was seen. God had shown His provision as well as His presence in giving them manna each day.
It was a Work of Veneration! Talk about a privilege! Psalm 78:25, "Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full." In verse 24 it says that God had, "given them of the corn of heaven." What an honor to be able to eat this upon earth.
It was a Work of Validation! The confirmation of God's presence, His provision, but also of His precepts was of utmost importance to the nation of Israel. I might be getting ahead of myself here just a little bit, but the rest of the verse says, "that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only..."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Deuteronomy 8:3, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
This is our third installment on the study of this verse. In this study, we will break up the third phrase and talk about three words, "and fed thee." With the first two phrases of God humbling His people and then afflicting them in hunger, we now see His great mercy.  This is a tender act of God for He did not just "provide" for them to eat, but He fed them. It is a precious thing to see a parent feeding a child or an adult child feeding their beloved parent in their old age. Here, it is God who is feeding His chosen people.
These three words tells us some important things about our wilderness experience.
God has not Forgotten. Never a moment did God forget about the hungering of His people. There was a ministry in the hunger that was meant to make them desire and depend upon God. Is there something that you wish you had? something that you crave? We are reminded in James 1:2-4, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." How is this for a mind blowing thought, God wants us to hunger so we will not need or want anything. David figured this out in Psalm 23:1-2, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters."  Friend, God never said He would not allow you to hunger. He said, He would provide your need. It is the Fleshly mind that thinks it needs anything. It is the Faith mind that says, I am satisfied with what God has given me. Even Psalm 37:4 tells us, "Delight thyself in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." God wants to give us the desires of our heart, but maybe not the way we think. He wants to give us the desires that we ought to have. What does He want us to desire? Himself. Psalm 22:26, "The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever." Whatever God has for me, is enough.
This may not satisfy our desire right now. Have you accepted the fact that perhaps your hunger is meant to develop your appetite and your diet to different things? Psalm 131:2, "Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child." When babies nurse, they will nurse many different times throughout the day. Sometimes, they only eat for comfort. Perhaps God's work in your life is meant to train you to wait on Him and upon His schedule and not your own. You will find that the transference from nursing to meals may not be near as comforting for a while, and not near as convenient for yourself, but they are converting you and confirming you in the desires of your Heavenly Father.
God has not Forsaken. When we are hungered because we do not get what we want, it is easy for us to think that God has gone and it is up to us to meet our own needs. But when God comes to feed us, we are reminded that God still cares and that God is still working on our behalf. This is meant to quiet us in our spirit that we may trust in Him. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Our fears that God has forsaken us expose one of our biggest flaws in our relationship with God--lack of trust. Psalm 37:3 says, "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." Please don't allow your hunger cause you to fear and doubt about His love, His care, or His provision. Psalm 104:27-28 are meant to give us peace as we wait and trust, "These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Deuteronomy 8:3 says, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
We started our study on this verse yesterday when we talked about God humbling us. Today we look at the phrase, "and suffered thee to hunger." The word here for suffered means, "to smite, pound, as if beating out, to thrust off, down, cast off, etc."
I had always looked at this word as in giving permission so that God had given permission and allowed them to suffer. There is nothing wrong with that interpretation for God had "suffered" Job to be afflicted. It seems to me, though, that this definition implies the idea of suffering through affliction. Would God afflict the righteous?
I know that question does not fit with many people's theology, but do we have an example of this in the Bible? Psalm 141:5, "Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities." We are also told in Proverbs 27:6, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."
This phrase also tells us that God suffered or afflicted them with hunger. Hunger is a craving that, if it be extreme to the point of starvation, would drive a man to kill for food. Christ dealt with this weakness of the flesh when he fasted and hungered for forty days only to be challenged by the Devil himself at Jesus' highest point of physical weakness. God was teaching His people a lesson on being satisfied with Him.
Job learned this lesson in Job 23:12, "Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."
There are more television programs now than ever before on food preparation and cooking. We have become a slave to our refined palates. We are fascinated and tantalized by spices, herbs, and seasonings to extraordinary levels. As a matter of fact, eating is not about sustenance anymore, but the experience. I enjoy a good meal as much as anyone, but our real craving should be about God, His Word, and His glory. Mark 15:43 tells of Joseph who craved the body of Jesus. He would receive nothing from this craving, but He wanted to honor His Saviour more than anything.
When He supplies our hunger need and fills our famished stomachs, we recognize His mercy, respect His grace, and reverence His provision. The relief from the affliction of hunger causes us to sing His praises and to share His love with others. May we love and learn to be hungry!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Deuteronomy 8:3, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
Perhaps God will allow us a few days to look at this verse in detail. We will try to look at a word, thought or phrase throughout this next week that will help us not only understand God's Word a little more clearly, but that we might see Him more clearly.
This verse and whole chapter covers a number of different topics and principles that are extremely important in the life of a believer. I believe that each of them is equally important as another. It can also be said that none is more important as what is seen in the first four words of this verse, "And he humbled thee."
We know that we should all be humble. It is a great virtue to be had in any person. In this narcissistic day in which we live it can be easily seen that we need a good lesson in humility. I am completely dumbfounded by the nothings of our society that have achieved celebrity status without any honor or accomplishment of any kind. What is being talked about in this verse is much more personal than that, however, for we are not talking about how we should be humble, but we are talking about how God humbled His people.
The word "humbled" means, "through the idea of looking down or browbeating; to depress." To be honest, I never thought of God's humbling work quite like that before. Seems a little dishonorable and even despicable, doesn't it? Perhaps we have misunderstood the purpose of such a browbeating. There is a great benefit that is delivered to a person by shame and embarrassment. It might even be fair to use the term "conviction" here as well.
The first mention of this Hebrew word is found in Genesis 15:13 when God was talking to Abram and told him that his descendants would be strangers in a strange land and that, "and they shall afflict them four hundred years." The word for "humbled" in Deuteronomy 8 is the same word for "afflict" in Genesis 15. I believe it is fair to say that before we can be delivered from our spiritual Egypt and set free to pursue our Promised Land, we must first be humbled and afflicted in our bondage and captivity of sin.
We must recognize that what we might see as malice from God, is actually the mercy of God.
We will look further at this verse later.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

For the Christian, we always want our good works to bring glory to God. Actually, we are reminded in 1 Corinthians 10:31 always to do everything for the glory of the Lord, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." I think that perhaps one of the biggest things that we miss is that all of our works go to God; some to honor and glory, and some to dishonor and shame.
We are reminded of this in Psalm 51:4, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." It is important to see the differences between the two verses. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "do all to the glory of God," but Psalm 51:4 says, "against thee, thee only, have I sinned." We often don't look at our sin as being against God. It is easier on the conscience to say that maybe we made a mistake, or even just missed the mark, but against? Down deep we even feel that when we do sin, we might be a little selfish, and maybe it's not quite right, but we are not really against Him. We would never go against Him would we?
The biggest problem in reconciling these differences is in our misunderstanding of the holiness of God Himself. It is His holiness that declares that any act that is unholy to be carnal. The Word of God then says in Romans 8:6-8, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." If our works are at enmity with God, then we are against Him.
Why would God make this so black and white? Can't we have a little gray area here, at least to soothe our conscience a little bit? No, my friend, no. We cannot have it both ways. Psalm 51:4 says after it has declared our sins to be against God, why it must be that way, "that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest and be clear when thou judgest." Without our sin being declared to be against God, He would not be justified through His Word and His Word would become a vague and obscure collection of noble ideals and nuanced paradigms that seem to shift according to our perspective of how our religion should fit into the culture of our modern era.
The danger of changing our sin from being against God to anything else is revoking the holiness of God, rejecting God as being just, and reporting God's Word as being ambiguous. No matter how society may scream, no matter how our will may resist, and no matter how far we may wander, our sin will always be against God.