Lessons from the Desert

Deuteronomy 8:1-20

Moses reviews some of the Israelite’s’ experiences in the desert, framing them as lessons God wished to teach the people, like a father teaches a son. God made the people hungry so He could feed them manna. He caused their clothes not to wear out and their feet not to tire.


Moses adds that God is bringing them to a land of plenty, with water sources and precious metals, with wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranate, olive oil and date honey. It is a land where nobody needs to feel hunger. When the people eat and are satisfied, they should be moved to thank God for the bounty. Moses warns they should not become complacent, thinking it is their own strength that provided for them. Rather, they should remember God is the one who took them out of Egypt and provided for them, even in this land. If the people forget this lesson, they will suffer the same fate as the nations which God is driving from the land.


The Israel Bible points out that when the Torah says the people will not hunger in their new land, it is not referring only to a hunger for physical bread. Rather, it is also a reference to the Torah itself, which is compared metaphorically to bread. As the prophet says, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11). In the Holy Land, the promise of sustenance is spiritual as well as physical.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

How do you think the experiences of the desert teach the people the lessons Moses says God wants the Israelites to learn?

Comments ( 12 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Jennifer

    The key lessons which were to be learnt relate to recognising and remembering that God is faithful, all powerful, a mighty deliverer, a promise keeper, a, covenant maker and keeper, provider, protector. That He is leading, directing each path of the journey, fighting for them and they are victorious. At the forefront of their memory must the Mighty works of God in Egypt who is with them. Very important is also obedience to His statutes and commands to live and be known as a chosen, set apart people. Therefore they must know their identity and remain faithful to God acknowledging that all their blessings come from Him. A reverential fear of God must be the foundation of their lives.

  • These desert experiences are not pleasant. Men does learn most by what he suffers and through selfimposed circumstances (oftten created by himself). Moreover G-d wants to consolidate a people, committed to Himself, so all things in the desert have the purpose to this goal. e.g. the manna, makes people dependent of G-d's Merci each day and more confident of His providence and faithfulness. To learn and to be taught till you are used to a day by day-life with The ETERNEL ONE.

  • I agree with all of you thanks, however, I disagree with your later part, George, we are not supposed to depend on fear. Adding to the answers to the wilderness question, I believe the experiences in the desert (wilderness) teach us the lessons of trust, patience and maturity. After we are out of the wilderness, then we are ready for bigger assignments, also, we will be in position to contain the blessings of Yahweh that come to one that has overcome the testing (wilderness). The world as a result will know that oh!! Yahweh's children (Israel) is in fact different, it is holy. Baruch be HaShem!!

    • Psalms 119:71 equally explains this: 'It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.'

  • Diana Brown

    Love is the greatest Commandment. Yet, how can true love be commanded? Moses knew that Love is not confined to emotional feelings, urges and sensations which are often disguised as lust. He emphasized love centers on the mind and heart-the true essence of a person. To Love God means with your HEART-to decide to cleave to Him for understanding how to live right before Him and with your neighbor. STRENGTH-Give the best of yourself and when you reach the end of yourself, ask the Lord to take over and show Himself strong for your good and His Glory so the nations will know that the Lord your God is the Lord over Israel and all the Nations. TEACHING Parents were instructed to focus their principal teachings of TORAH in all aspects of their lives so the children could learn the ways of the Lord, pass it down to their children unto every generation until TIME is no more. Moses knows man was given 6000 years to learn that God’s Commands are the best way to learn. Ha satan is a lousy administrator of the earthly kingdom that Adam gave away to him when Adam decided another way was more beneficial to him than God’s Way. When Adam learned, we each have to learn. Proverbs 19:2 and 3 are wise words to know and live by today.

    • Diana Brown

      In the wilderness, you see that eternal witnesses standing before you, Heaven and Earth. That causes your spirit to yearn for the Creator to return so we can all live in His Presence beyond prayers of faith and repentance to where our faith will be sight!

      • Being in the wilderness spiritually is such a test for us all. We do yearn for just a Word (piece of bread from Hashem. If we take our spiritual experience as a blessing and learn from it there will be a bounty. When one does come out of the wilderness and recognizes the lessons, I am talking from experience, there is such joy when we hear His voice and reap a harvest of knowledge with understanding and gratefulness for the Lord.

    • Love can not be commanded. That is why the political advisor Machchiavelli advised rulers to stay clear of a dependence of love, and depend on fear.

  • Magda

    Moses implies that God wants the Israelites to learn to trust God fully and give Him alone thanks for whatever they achieve and acquire. During the time in the wilderness they had to face and overcome many dangers (serpents, scorpions and lack of water) (Devarim 8: 15 – 16) and the Lord provided – in the form of protection and provision of water – from a rock as well. They had nothing to eat but the manna from heaven that the Lord miraculously provided(v. 16). These were all miracles, things ‘thy fathers knew not’, but when they enter the Promised Land after all these years in the wilderness, they will have to think back of the miraculous provision and protection in the wilderness and realize that the same Protector and Provider take care of them there, and not be wise in their own eyes: ‘My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth’ (v.17) The miracles in the wilderness were also meant as a foreshadowing of God’s eternal Provision of Blessings, thus His keeping of the covenant UNLESS if they forget Him and not keep their part of the covenant “if thou shalt forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods,………ye shall surely perish”. The price is small, but the rewards are high.

    • Tsivya Fox

      Great thinking!

  • Martin

    G-d often takes us to midbar, the wilderness, in order to mi’dabear, speak. Finding ourselves in the desert is usually a precursor to hearing the Voice of Elohim…

    • Tsivya Fox

      Beautiful thought. Thanks for sharing.

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