You can’t spell “wilderness” without using the word “wild“. All God’s children tarry in the wilderness for some period of time after salvation or deliverance from Egypt. But if your wilderness journey tarries longer than you expected, it is because you need it! Your journey might take some wild, unexpected turns.
As tough as Egypt is to escape, the wilderness experience is tougher still. In fact, it is the most difficult of all experiences in the believer’s life. The reason is because the wilderness experience is God’s process. I know many, including myself, who have spent most of the journey fighting the process. I have done my share of blaming the devil when I should have been discerning God’s handiwork and humbly submitting to the process.
As I said yesterday, in the wilderness either one of two events happen… 1) We come to the end of ourselves and enter into rest, or 2) We physically die in the process without inheriting the promises!
If you want your wilderness experience to end, then die to the fleshly desires and submit to God’s process. Remember, God is seeking to conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus. You are not enduring or experiencing anything that Jesus Himself didn’t endure. I am always encouraged by the words from Hebrews 5:8 , ” Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” If Jesus learned obedience, then we all will have to learn obedience through suffering in the wilderness. There are no short cuts!
– Understanding Polar Opposite Promises –
The children of Israel entered the Wilderness Experience because they chose the Lord’s Promise and Exit. If you have chosen the promises of Scripture and the path of the Lord, then you too are on the same road through the wilderness to receive the fullness of God’s promises.
After God’s children passed through the Red Sea (which was a type of baptism in Christ) and renewed their intention to believe God’s Promise to receive a “land flowing with milk and honey”, they entered into the Wilderness Experience.
Remember, this was supposed to be a “land of milk and honey”. Yet just three days into following God and God’s man Moses, what they actually received were the “Bitter Waters of Mirah.” (Exodus 15:23) Why did this happen? Why were there so many problems on the road to “milk and honey“?
– Wilderness Experience Principle –
Between the place where we actually receive the promise of God and the Promised Land (the fulfillment of the promise), there is usually going to be a “Bewildering Experience” that is the exact opposite of what we have been promised. This is usually when our “rose-colored glasses” get smacked off our face. Many have dropped the promises of God because they couldn’t continue believing God beyond a few difficulties and hardships. They became bitter like Mirah because God did not move in their life as they expected. The question is: Will you experience bitter situations along the road to the Promised Land? Yes you will!
You can apply this principle to every promise of God you have received, regardless of what it relates to in your life. The promise may involve gifts, ministries, personal promises for yourself, promises for others, spiritual issues, and even physical issues. No matter how grand, how spiritual or important your promise may be, expect more than one dead-end that appears to be the death of that very promise.
This barren place requires you to develop new faith and trust to move forward. You do not have to stay in these barren places a long time. But the place of barrenness will require some time in order that we might discover what is in your heart. It is at these places the Lord circumcises our hearts from all fleshly desires. (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6)
There is always a difference between the time when God’s “anoints” us; until the time when he “appoints” us. God anoints, speaks, and promises first. There is often a space of time before He appoints, answers or fulfills that very word/promise. It is between the “anointing and appointing” that God works in us to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus.
Abraham endured years of “conforming” before he actually received the promise of a son. It was during this time he received bad advice and produced an Ishmael. It was also during this time he conquered kings in order to rescue Lot and tithed to the order of Melchizedek.
Joseph received a dream at a young age that one day even his father, mother, and brothers would bow and pay homage to him. It was during this time he was rejected, enslaved, imprisoned, and forgotten. Landing in jail would definitely suck the wind out of your promises! But he soon learned what men meant for evil, God meant for good. He ultimately saved his family, thus preserving Israel as a nation.
This Bible is full of examples of ordinary people receiving promises from God and then being plunged into dry, wilderness experiences where those same promises appear far away.
How about you? Are you holding on to a promise of God today? Have you been befuddled by circumstances that declare your promises are dead? Don’t believe circumstances, believe the living, breathing word of God to you.
I will be sharing some of the deeper purposes of the wilderness wandering tomorrow.