Unknown: Into The Wilderness
It’s part 2 of the Into The Deep Bible Study :) Last week we journeyed through the fire - if you haven't read that blog yet, read that one first and come back before we journey through the wilderness.
The wilderness is a season that is different for everyone. Maybe it’s feeling spiritually dry or disconnected. Maybe it’s feeling purposeless or lonely or maybe the wilderness is a place in our lives where we've stepped into the unknown, lacking a sense of direction. Whatever it may be, God plans to use this season for our growth. For beyond every wilderness awaits a Promised Land. Yet, the key to navigating your way through the wilderness is to embrace the season God has you in.
If you search for an escape route before understanding why God has you in a particularly dry place, you end up prolonging the journey. When you try to fight the season you’re in, you end up getting even more lost within it. Unbelief essentially paralyses us from entering into the Promised Land. What was meant to take the Israelites 11 days to journey through, actually took them 40 years to reach the land that flowed with milk and honey!
“Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.” - Exodus 14:12-13
I guess often we want clarity, but God wants us to trust Him. With Pharaoh and the Egyptians chasing after them, the Israelites forget that God is a God of deliverance. They forget that God is a faithful God. Instead, fear paralyses them to desire slavery, rather than taking a step into the unknown and into the freedom of the Promised Land.
The wilderness is where we discover what we truly hunger for - God. It allows us to thirst for God in the midst of our struggles. It’s not a place of defeat, rather a place for growth. The Spirit of the Lord will lead you into the wilderness to hide you from the world because He wants to prepare you first, before you step back out into the world.
“This happened when I was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone inscribed with the words of the covenant that the Lord had made with you. I was there for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate no food and drank no water. The Lord gave me the two tablets on which God had written with his own finger all the words he had spoken to you from the heart of the fire when you were assembled at the mountain.”— Deuteronomy 9:9-10
Notice how Moses’ time in the wilderness mirrors the same experience of Jesus who was tempted in the desert. In the same way Moses receives the 10 Commandments from God as a product of his endurance, Jesus gives us the New Law on the Sermon on the Mount after the wilderness.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.” – Matthew 4:1-2
In the period of solitude and loneliness, the enemy attacks but it’s the Lord who delivers us from the darkness. Through fasting and prayer, the Lord is cultivating an endurance within us to fight of temptation. The enemy will search for you continuously, but the Lord will deliver you from the evil one.
Prayer and fasting are opportunities to desire the right things God wants for us and open up our hearts to receive Him. The wilderness is where God can strip away our ungodly desires and create in us a new heart that desires Him above all else if we allow Him to.
“Do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness.” – Hebrews 3:8
The truth is: you’re not just going through a wilderness season; you’re growing through it. The wilderness is a place we visit, not a destination. It’s to purify, strengthen and prepare us to fulfil the purpose God has for us.
“David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.” – 1 Samuel 23:14
Before David could even be the righteous chosen King of Israel, he had to prepare himself in the wilderness. The Lord anointed him as the King but now as an outlaw, he’s running from the King. A season in the wilderness can make us feel like David: Lord I’m your child, but I don’t feel like your child anymore because of the way I’m suffering.
Yet the Bible states that God delivered David from the hand of his enemy. For a season in the wilderness is not a season of defeat or despair, but rather a season to grow and be fruitful. Though the season might be frustrating, God has planted you exactly where you were meant to be in preparation for the Promised Land. Embrace the season in the wilderness as you never know where it might take you…
POINT TO PONDER: The wilderness is a place we visit, not a destination.
VERSE TO LIVE: “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” - Isaiah 43:19
QUESTION TO CONSIDER: Is it possible that God has you in the season of the wilderness to draw you closer to Him?
PRAYER: Lord help me to be faithful in the midst of the wilderness and purify me from anything that prevents me from reaching the Promised Land…