Our life is a journey through mountains, valleys, plains, and wilderness areas. Awhile back I had a post: “Why am I in the valley again?” In that post, we learned many times, we are in the valley to pick something up. Today, I want to go where many people are right now — in the wilderness. Who takes delight in the wilderness?
We know Moses petitioned Pharaoh, “…Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.” (Exodus 5:2) I think that’s pretty awesome — a feast in the wilderness. Do you know what Noah Webster called a wilderness? “A desert; a tract of land or region, uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings.” (Webster’s Dictionary, 1828)
Jesus was baptized by John and led of the Spirit into the wilderness. Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years. It lacked water but had wild animals, scorpions, and serpents. Still, God rained manna from heaven, brought forth water out of a rock, and healed them of their snake bites.
So why do I have to go through this wilderness? It’s miserable. I know God is providing for me, but I feel so alone! It’s darkness everywhere I turn. Where are you, God? The only things I see are these four walls. Fever, pain, congestion, weakness, coughing; it’s hard to even breathe. I’m just plain weary, exhausted, and depressed.
Perhaps you’re not sick but maybe you are in jeopardy of losing your job, business, home, or vehicle. Many of us are just plain weary, exhausted, and depressed. How long do I have to stay here?
It only took one day to get Israel out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to get the Egyptian mentality out of Israel. This could have been an 11-day journey to Canaan.
The Israelites were in bondage. They are having a hard time believing God wants to give them a land that they didn’t plant. One with produce that flows with milk and honey, houses they didn’t build, and vineyards they didn’t plant. It’s just too hard for them to accept. So, they mumble, murmur, doubt, complain and wander.
Do you have a hard time believing God wants to bless you?
Why are you here? It may be to test you.
“…to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Strong’s Concordance defines the word, “prove” (H5254) as “test.”
In the valley, we picked something up. In the wilderness, we lay things down. What are some things we may need to lay down? It’s a place, of soul searching, a time of reflection. I remember working out at a gym called “Foxy’s.” Guys would constantly look in the mirror admiring their muscles. Girls wait to get home. They tend to look in the mirror and think they aren’t pretty. Still, each one is looking at a reflection. In the wilderness, we need to look in the mirror of God’s word. He is examining our hearts and motives.
“For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James1:23-25)
Jesus was hungry, tired, and weak when he was 40 days in the wilderness. He didn’t start his ministry until he came out of the wilderness. Peter was having a wilderness experience when he followed Jesus afar off during the trial. This test will be easier to pass if we are close to Jesus. We know Peter repented and God used him mightily when he came out of his wilderness.
I remember God spoke to me: “…be not far from me; for trouble is near; and there is none to help.” (Psalm 22:11) All I remember was trouble was near and there was no one to help. The important part of the scripture is “be not far from me.”
We think of God as being the light of the world and he is, but sometimes God is in the darkness. “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:21)
Most people don’t like darkness; I would venture to say many are afraid of the dark. Why don’t we like darkness? We can’t see what is going on. This is when we must walk by faith and not sight. “I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places…” (Isaiah 45:3) I can’t think of a better place to hide a treasure but in a dark, secret place.
Jesus will be your bread in the wilderness. When you come out of your wilderness it will be with power. God can use you in miracles, signs, and wonders to help others. He has blessings to bestow upon you to let you walk in power and purpose toward your promises, hopes, and dreams — you’re ‘fixing to feast!