Passing Through The Wilderness (Part One)
The wilderness is not a dwelling place!
It is a passage to take you to your destiny – your promise land. While in the wilderness there will be obstacles that you will have to overcome. The wilderness is designed by God to test your humility and patience.
The Israelites experience is a perfect example for us to learn how to cope in the wilderness. Unfortunately, the entire generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt, except for Caleb and Joshua, perished in the wilderness. Only their children who were born in the wilderness inherited the promise land.
The Israelites perished because they hardened their hearts and refused to trust God in spite of the many miracles that God accomplished on their behalf.
The children of Israel left Egypt victoriously. The Lord conquered the Egyptians with plagues and finally rescued them at the red sea. The Israelites witnessed the miraculous parting of the sea where they crossed over on dry land while the Egyptians who pursued them drowned in the sea.
They had enough evidence of Gods mighty power to strengthen their faith that the God whom they served would provide for them in the wilderness. However, their faith wavered at the first obstacle.
Overcoming the hindrances in the wilderness
The wilderness is a dry and barren land where there is little or no water. After crossing the red sea the Israelites traveled three days in the wilderness of Shur without finding any water. They were thirsty and all their food and water which they carried from Egypt were depleted.
Bitter water – Marah.
Finally, they found water in Marah but it was bitter and the people could not drink it. Immediately, they began to complain against Moses. So Moses prayed to the Lord who then instructed him to cut a tree and put it into the water which miraculously became palatable.
Whenever our focus is on the needs of the flesh, temptation can easily overcome us. Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness without food, yet, did not complain. Instead, Christ put His flesh under subjection so that He did not surrender to the tricks of the devil (Matthew 4).
Complaining during difficult times will encourage toxic thoughts to develop that can poison your mind. The Tree of Life which is the living Word of God will refresh and cleanse your spirit during the dry spells in your finances or relationships with friends and family.
Wilderness of Sin
Approximately one and half month after leaving Egypt, the Lord led the congregation of Israel from the luscious place of Elim to the wilderness of Sin. The name suggests that this was a harsher place than Shur.
Consequently, the Israelites completely lost their faith in God and pronounced a death sentence upon themselves when they became hungry and thirsty.
And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:3)
The Lord heard their complaints and rained manna from heaven for their bread and quails as their meat (Exodus 16).
Be careful of the words that you speak over your life during difficult times. The Lord hears every complaint and negative words. Though the Lord will provide for your needs, your words will return to haunt you as it did to the Israelites later.
During trying times the Lord wants total dependence upon Him. It will be a daily sustenance where you will never lack.
Rephidim – a resting place
The Lord led the people of Israel to a place of rest but there was no water in that area. Once again, the unruly people rose up against Moses and were ready to stone him.
The Lord instructed Moses to strike the rock of Horeb and water poured from it. Moses called the name of the place Massah and Meribah. These names mean trials and temptations (Exodus 17).
As a result of the Israelites complaints, they would receive even more tests. They doubted God’s presence among them so the Lord stood before the people on the rock of Horeb to show Himself.
God will give you rest from trials during the wilderness period. Ensure that you are sensitive to these time and wait patiently for God’s direction. Always remember that God is a present help in times of trouble (Psalms 46:1).
Are you going through a phase where it appears as if the trials will never end? If yes, most likely you are in the wilderness period of your life.
The wilderness is a journey so don’t tarry in it by becoming complacent and bitter with complaints. The tree of life (Jesus Christ) and the living water (Holy Spirit) are available for you to partake of to strengthen and sustain you.
Part Two of this post will continue the journey through the wilderness.