“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Does God know us like He knew His servant Job? Does He have confidence that we will still love and serve Him even when life is at its worst? Does He know us like He knew His friend Abraham? “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment …” (Gen. 18:19) Have we been tried and proven faithful in small things, so that God knows we will be faithful in much?
God proved the children of Israel in the wilderness. The first generation had ten tests by which God knew where they stood. “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice” (Num. 14:22). What did God discover at the end of His testing? That the people could not stand the wilderness of want. Yes, He eventually rained bread from heaven, and brought water out of the rock, but it didn’t matter – they were always ready to complain, and one step away from returning to Egypt.
What will we do when “the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls” (Hab. 3:17)? Will we curse God and die? Will we call into question His goodness? Will we count Him unworthy of our love and devotion? Or, will we still rejoice in the God of our salvation? God wants to know.