Why God allows “the wilderness” and the importance of responding correctly while in it

Numbers 32:8-15; Deuteronomy 9:23; Jeremiah 29:4-7

God didn’t intend for the Israelites to spend 40 years wandering in the Wilderness. In fact, God thought them ready to possess the promised land within 2 years of leaving Egypt. But right at the border of receiving the promise, the people succumbed to fear, rebelling against God, disobeying Him and lacking faith to step forward. Oh what a shame – right at the border! In God’s eyes, this was an exceedingly great sin and not only were the people who doubted destroyed, but the people were made to wander in the desert for another 38 years. 😞

  • If you study the map of their journey for the next 38 years, it’s like they kept going round in circles. The blessing was there but they just couldn’t claim it. 😕 The Bible clearly tells us that when God closes a door, no man can open it. It is also God that determines the intensity and length of time we spend in the wilderness. It may feel like a curse or the work of demons but God is always in control. If He allowed you to go through it, He can get you out of it. 
  • As seen in Deut 32:14-15, how we respond in the wilderness determines how long we spend in it and the intensity. If we spend it complaining like the Israelites did, dreaming of former pleasures and rebelling against current authority, we don’t do ourselves any favors. Remember in Jeremiah 29, God instructed Jeremiah to tell the Israelites not to fight against the authority of Babylon when they were taken captive because He had determined 70 years as the length of their captivity and when the time was complete, He would visit them to perform His good word. During those 70 years, God instructed them to build houses and dwell in them, plant gardens and eat their fruit, take wives and beget sons and daughters, and take wives for their sons and give their daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters — that the Israelites may be increased there, and not diminished. In essence, they were to make the best of their wilderness experience and not keep trying to force themselves out of it
  • God uses the wilderness like a refining experience, to prune us. We should spend this time pressing into His bosom, getting to know Him even deeper (in theory and practice) and allowing the Holy Spirit do that great refining/pruning work. The Israelites had God’s presence literally with them via fire and cloud but they kept complaining. 😤 They should have spent this time drawing closer to Him, building their faith and seeking His will for their lives. He has promised that He will be with us always till the very end of time!
  • Nothing can do as great a work in the life of man as a wilderness experience. An experience where all doors seem closed, where all seems to go wrong, where darkness encompasses all around. All men go through these seasons of life but the difference between the believer and unbeliever is that the former looks up to God, the author and finisher of His faith. He relies on God who gives Him peace that surpasses human understanding. He honors God by trusting Him (Psalms 50:15). He takes His eyes away from his problems and focuses on helping other people. The latter however gets despondent, complains, fails to hope, lacks in good deeds, drifts away from the gathering of God’s people, neglects fervent prayer, focuses on the problems and not God, and ultimately gets crushed under a heavy yoke. ☠️
  • We are called to cast all our cares and burdens upon Jesus for He cares for us. He wants us to seek Him first above all things, and promises to add every other thing we need in this life unto us. This is the order. Not marriage or family or siblings or work or money – nothing should come before our relationship with God. When we get the order of our priorities in life wrong then we struggle and complain.

May the Lord who has begun a good work in your life, who is forever faithful, complete it unto the very end. 🙏🏾

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