Homework! Homework! Give me a break! Do you see the value in homework? Do you think it should be graded for the accuracy or for completion? For that matter, do you think that grades in school are even needed? There are varying opinions on how these questions should be answered. Ultimately your response should be rooted in educational philosophy, and varying philosophies result in an ongoing debate between schools, teachers, parents, and students.
Regardless of how you answer these questions, one thing is certain in education. Assessment is crucial. Evaluating learning can be done in a variety of ways, but for the teacher to determine if the student understands the content, some form of assessment must be administered. Most commonly, we use words like; homework, quizzes, and tests, to describe assessments.
A good teacher will use an assessment to gauge the student, and it should also be used to gauge the teacher’s effectiveness. While mulling our educational philosophy, let’s use that springboard for diving into a deeper pool.
God uses tests to assess us, teach us, and mature our faith. For Israel, the pattern of testing in the wilderness was a series of tests to strengthen their trust in His sovereignty and provision. Uniquely, Exodus 16 and 17 seem to repeat the same test or lesson three times. To build off our educational analogy, the teacher determined they needed to repeat the same lesson three times since the assessment revealed they had not yet mastered the lesson objective.
You may evaluate your own life and observe you continually repeat the same pattern of behavior. Maybe you cycle in and out of credit card debt. Perhaps you spiral in and out of addictions. It may be that you repeat the same weight loss and gain battle. Whatever the issue may be, it is likely that you are navigating tests in your life you have not yet learned.
We served a God who is patient and loving. He allows us to continue to learn but ultimately desires that we learn the lesson to trust Him! He is good. He will provide. He is sufficient. His is enough. When we fill our lives with possessions, addictions, and habits, we reveal insecurities and an unwillingness to trust that He is enough.
Maybe we are more like the ancient Israelites than we care to admit.