Deuteronomy 8:3-4 (NIV) 3He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.
God tested Israel in the wilderness in order to know what was in their heart. It was not as if our all-knowing God couldn't see their hearts. They needed to see how faithless and proud their own hearts were. So do we! Because of our sinful nature we get the ridiculous idea that we are independent creatures. We think we can take care of ourselves. That is why we are taken through wilderness experiences.
When the LORD sets his love upon you, the most gracious thing He can do for you is to show you truth. The truth is that you are a dependent creature, dependent upon the word of God for air, water, food, ability, and life itself. God alone is ascient (self-sustaining). How do you think Moses survived two forty-day fasts without water? The Word of God sustained him. How could the nation of Israel live for 40 years in a desert? The Word of God brought water from the rock, bread from the sky, and kept their clothing from wearing out.
When we realize this fact of total dependency, we are humbled. Jesus knew it to be true. He said, "I can do nothing by myself." As a man, He knew He had become dependent on the Word of His Father, and so He spoke and acted what He heard and saw of the Father. The affect of the humbling truth that we are totally dependent on the Word of God should change the way we speak and act if we are to accomplish anything of lasting value. Recognize the reality of how needy you are.
Consider: The trials of life are to humble us and show us our need.
Matthew 25:38-40 (NIV) 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
At the final judgment, every man will appear before the King to give an account of the things done during their life. The Son of Man will divide them into just two groups. He doesn't ask them about theology. There are no quizzes. The deciding factor is how they lived. Did they meet the needs of their fellow man? Or did they ignore the pain and suffering around them? One might argue that the only way a person is willing to give of themselves out of unselfish motives is that the Spirit of Christ indwells them. Indeed, these who did meet the needs of others seem to be unaware that they did so. They did not boast about all the good things they had done, but instead asked when they did them.
Notice, also, that Jesus says they did it to Him. They ask how that could possibly be, and He explains that doing it to one of the least of His brothers is the same as doing it to Him. This reminds us of the Good Samaritan story.
I once asked the Lord how I could wash His feet. He showed me that washing the feet of His children was the same as doing it to Him. As I proceeded to do so, the realization that I was washing Jesus' feet on my brother overwhelmed me. Can we see our brothers' need as Jesus' need?
There is a story about three Catholic priests whose church was in continual decline. They asked a traveling Jewish rabbi if he had any ideas. The rabbi told them that he had heard Jesus was among them. Each of the priests suspected it was one of the other priests. They began to treat one another as if they were Christ. They began to prefer each other with great respect. The congregation began to grow again and its fame spread throughout the country. It is just a story, but it contains a great truth. Jesus lives in our brothers.
Remember: Let us treat one another as we would treat Jesus. He'll honor that. His life in us makes that possible.