Through Jesus’ ministry the Lord taught a new generation what he was teaching Israel in the desert. We would do well to pay attention because God’s ways have not changed:
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you the people do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you “(Deu. 8:2-5).
Immediately after Israel was birthed through the waters of the Red Sea, Yahweh cut the umbilical cord. Straight away he began to wean them from looking to men and circumstances for help. God had a work to do in his newborn son. They had to be set free from a slave mentality––a mindset that blames people, things and God for the situations they are in. They had to be liberated from the victim mentality they were accustomed to as slaves. God desired to renew their mind to think as sons: “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you” (Deu. 8:5; cf. Heb. 12:4-13, italics mine).
This deserves reflection. Do we think like slaves or sons? After Israel’s victory celebration “Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they travelled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah [bitter].) So the people grumbled against Moses saying, ‘What are we to drink?’” (Exo. 15:24). Here a victim mentality begins to emerge. Today, God does not want us to live with a victim mentality. We are his sons and daughters and our Father takes good care of his children.
Prayer: Father, forgive me; I have lived at times with a victim mentality. You have called me as your son/daughter; you have called me to reign even in the pain. May I walk as a son/daughter and not as a victimized slave. I believe you have a hope and a future for my life, and that your plan is so much greater for me than I can even imagine.