See What God Can Do!
Some people have very short memories. They forget what the Lord has done for them. This is one reason why Moses gave that great farewell message we know as the Book of Deuteronomy. He wanted the people to remember all that God had done for them. In Deuteronomy 32:10, Moses says, “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about; he instructed him; he kept him as the apple of his eye.” This is what God did for the people of Israel, and this is what He wants to do for you and me today.
Apart from the grace and goodness of God, the people of Israel would have perished in Egypt. God came to them and delivered them. He found Israel in the desert and led them to the promised land, a land flowing with milk honey.
All of this is a picture of our salvation. You and I were in the desert wastes of sin when the Lord came to us. We were in bondage just as Israel was in Egypt. We were under the sentence of death and could do nothing to free ourselves. But then the Lord came to us. He called us and we trusted Him; and He saved us. This is the greatest experience in all of life, to trust Jesus Christ and let Him save you from the penalty and slavery of sin.
But after He saves us, then what? Certainly there is more to the Christian life than simply deliverance from sin. Of course there is, and that is what Deuteronomy 32:10 is all about. What did God do for Israel after He delivered them? “He led him about, He instructed him, and He kept him as the apple of His eye.” Here are three wonderful ministries the Lord wants to share with all who have trusted Him and who belong to His people.
First, the Lord wants to lead us. You will recall that God went before the camp of Israel and led them from place to place. They followed a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Sometimes the cloud tarried and the people camped in a place for a long time. On other occasions the could moved more often. But the nation did not dare take off on its own; it followed the cloud.
This is an important lesson for us—we must follow the leading of the Lord. Now, you and I cannot look out the window and see a cloud or a pillar of fire. We walk by faith, not by sight. But God has given us all that we need to determine the direction He wants us to go.
To being with, we have His Word. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” When you open your Bible God opens His mouth; when you close your Bible, God closes His mouth. He speaks through His Word. People who take time daily to read the Word, meditate, and pray, enjoy the leading of the Lord in the decisions of life.
God has also given us His Holy Spirit Who lives in us and Who teaches us and guides us. “He shall guide you into all truth” promised the Lord Jesus. Of course, the Spirit cannot guide us unless we walk in fellowship with Him. This means living in the Word, obeying God’s will as we discover it, and letting Jesus Christ have preeminence in our lives. To “walk in the Spirit” means to obey God, keep in touch with Him through the Word and prayer, and seek to glorify Him in our lives.
Let God lead you. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.”
Not only does God lead us, but He also instructs us. Moses said to the people in Deuteronomy 32:10, “He led him about, He instructed him…” The nation of Israel was like a group of children who needed to be taught their ABC’s. They were not ready for the promised land. They had many lessons to learn. How did God teach them? Well, He taught them centuries ago the same way He teaches us today.
First of all, He gave them His law. He told them plainly that some things are right and some things are wrong. Of course, some of the law was temporary, given only to the Jews for their civil and religious life. But the basic moral law of God still stands today. It is still wrong to murder, to lie, to steal, to commit adultery, to covet. God’s law today is ignored, disobeyed, and even laughed at; but it still stands. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My word shall not pass away.”
God also instructed them through the experiences of life. When He delivered them from Egypt, God did not lead the nation by the shortest route. He deliberately chose another route lest the nation get discouraged. Then God permitted the people to experience the difficulties of life—hunger, thirst, even war. Sad to say, when things became difficult, instead of trusting the Lord, the people complained and blamed the Lord.
Why did God use difficult experiences of life to instruct the people? Because it was the only way they could learn about themselves and about God. A crisis does not make a person; it reveals what a person is made of. A crisis exposes what we really are, what we trust, and what we live for. But a crisis is also an opportunity for us to learn about God—what He can do and how gracious and wonderful He is.
God also instructed His people through the tabernacle and the sacrifices. All of these ceremonies and appointments were pictures of the coming Savior and His great work of redemption. Each sacrifice pointed to the coming Lamb of God Who would take away the sins of the world. Sad to say, when the Savior did appear, Israel was so wrapped up in the pictures that they failed to recognize the fulfillment.
My friend, are you permitting God to instruct you? Are you learning daily from His Word? Are you discovering more about God and about yourself in the daily experiences of life? I trust that you are; for as we learn from God, we enter into a deeper fellowship with Him. He prepares us for the blessings yet to come. Jesus said, “and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
We have considered two wonderful ministries that the Lord performs for those who are His children, those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior. First, God leads us; and second, God instructs us. The third ministry is this: God keeps us and protects us as we follow Him. Deuteronomy 32:10 reads, “He led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.”
The safety and security of God’s people is one of the Lord’s special concerns. In His high priestly prayer in John 17, our Lord prayed that we might be kept in the Father’s care. The closing verses in Romans 8 are a hymn of praise to the Lord for His keeping power: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Moses used a fascinating comparison when he talked about God’s keeping power: “He kept him as the apple of his eye.” Ancient people thought the pupil of the eye was a sphere like an apple, so they called it the “apple of the eye.” It is a term of endearment. Just as a person jealously guards his eyes, so God jealously guards His own people. They are the apple of His eye.
Certainly this is the tenderest part of the anatomy. Moses is telling us that God protects us and cares for us because we have no protection of our own. When I was working in a manufacturing company, I was required to wear safety goggles whenever I went out into the shop. Our eyes have very little natural protection. God’s people have very little protection of their own—they must depend on the Lord to cover them and care for them. And He does! When the enemies attacked Israel, God stepped in and fought for them. When there were dangers, God intervened. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” No matter what circumstances may come as we obey His will, God is right there to shelter us and help to give us the victory. After all, we are His and He is responsible for us. Now, He is not responsible when we rebel against Him and disobey Him. When we rebel, we reap just what we sow; and God is not responsible for the results. But as He leads us and instructs us, and we follow, He protects us and keeps us; for we are precious to Him. We were purchased with the blood of His Son and we are the apple of His eye.