Be aware that I use several sources and commentaries when I write these blogs and I will list those at the bottom of the page.
Spiritual wilderness, we have all been there at some time or another in our Christian walk. The word wilderness conjures up a vivid image for most of us, a picture painted in our minds that comes easily to us. But this wilderness is not the same as a spiritual wilderness. As Christians, when we accepted Jesus Christ as our savior, we were adopted into the family of God. Our family inheritance shared by all believers is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Like all families we share a common experience with our forefathers. They all spent some time in the wilderness. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah were there. Even Jesus was there. Their examples were meant to guide us as we also pass through the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:11-13).
11 These things happened to them as an example and were written as a warning for us to whom the end of time has come. 12 So those who think they are standing need to watch out or else they may fall. 13 No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it.
As Christians, when we refer to the “wilderness,” we are referring to the times of God’s tests and trials in our lives and even there in the wilderness God is with us! Direction has a lot to do with what we encounter in life. Consider that Jerusalem sits atop a long mountain ridge 2700 ft. in elevation. In the winter moisture laden clouds from the nearby Mediterranean drop their rains and snow on the western slope. Alas, there is no moisture left for the eastern slope. Thus there lies the wilderness of Judea, few trees, little grass and scorching temps. Many of God’s chosen would spend time in this wilderness because of unbelief or God had a few things to teach them. Why did God make these wilderness places anyway? Why would a person consider a direction that would place them in such a place? Life moves fast and sometimes we are doing well, riding high on a cloud in a blue sky. Then, whoops….something happens that knocks us off that cloud and we find ourselves on the ground and in the dirt, looking up at a gray sky. Perhaps God created this life wilderness to help us appreciate those good times. I prefer to believe that God also knew that the wilderness is an ideal place to test his people and to help them learn faith and endurance. In Hebrew, the word for wilderness is midbar. Midbar has the meaning of “speak” or “word.” God speaks to us in the wilderness. God also humbles and proves us in the wilderness.
There are many things that lead us to the wilderness. One key area is of course temptation and it comes in many forms. We tend to sometimes forget how important it is to worship God every day, in all ways and in all circumstances that life throws our way. Great example from the Word of God Today website.
“While in the wilderness, the children of Israel had some real trouble in the area of worship. Even while Moses was in the mountain receiving the law of the Lord, the people were busy making a golden calf to worship (Deut. 9:7-21). Often, God has to keep us in the wilderness until all our golden calves become detestable to us. I am speaking of all those calves we adore in everyday life – automobiles, jobs, houses, success, fame, fortune, etc. It is often because of such things that we often must face the wilderness.”
We often find ourselves in a wilderness of grief, sorrow and fear due to the pain we experience when a loved one dies or there is a serious illness with little hope of recovery. Whatever the reason we find ourselves in a wilderness of despair or our faith being tested by the ways of this world it is well that we remember strength can come from our time in the wilderness. So what can this wilderness do for us? It will teach us to persevere and we will mature because of our trials. Remember at the first of this blog we listed some of our forefathers who spent time in the wilderness and when we look back over Israel’s history it seems that so many of her blessings came from the wilderness. The wilderness breeds character; it also breeds humility. The wilderness can be a lonely place. Do you find yourself in a wilderness that is testing you physically as well as spiritually? Many of us try to escape the wilderness by ministering to ourselves in our natural strength, in this way we will fail. I urge you to turn to God; as they once said “put your troubles at the foot of the cross”. Pastor Ron Taylor, a guest speaker at church last week told how he and his brother would sing this before Sunday School. He also shared that he sung it at his brother’s request just before he died. It was Pastor’s Taylor’s message that led me to this weeks blog subject.
**My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow.
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow.
Strength for today is mine all the way,
And all that I need for tomorrow.
My Lord knows the way through,
All I have to do is follow. (**I do not know the origin of this song.)
The Lord’s way is the good way. Hope you come back next week.
Following Him jk