Why the Wilderness?

In Israel, the wilderness is located outside of every city or town. It is not a desert like the Sahara. In Jerusalem, the wilderness is just beyond the Mount of Olives. When you traveled from Jerusalem to Galilee, you went through the wilderness. It’s hot in the day and cold at night. It’s rocky — a challenge to walk across. There’s very little water or food in the wilderness. You can get lost in it, and thieves hide there, waiting to ambush travelers.

In the Bible, it has been a time where many people, chosen by God, have spent time. Abraham… Jacob fled from his brother Esau… Joseph was sold into slavery… Moses fled to the wilderness after killing an Egyptian taskmaster… Elijah fled after killing the prophets of Baal… David hid from Saul… John the Baptist baptised people in the wilderness… Jesus went into the wilderness after His baptism…

There is always a purpose for being in the wilderness. Some are forced into the wilderness. Some choose the wilderness. Some are called by God to go into the wilderness. Remember — while the wilderness has a beginning, it also has an end.

Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out, and your feet did not swell these 40 years. Keep in mind that the Lord your God has been disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. (Deuteronomy 8)

Whatever wilderness you are going through, use it as a time to talk with God and to hear His voice. It is a time to learn about yourself and your character. The wilderness causes us to rest on God, to call on Him, and to draw near to Him. It is a place to be alone, without distractions. Sometimes, it isn’t until you lose control that you are able to be led by the Lord. The Lord’s goal is to bring you to a place of encouragement, hope, faith, love, trust, comfort, courage, honor.

Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12)

The wilderness is a place where you are formed and shaped by God. It is a time to strengthen your faith. Start by being honest with yourself about what is really in your heart.

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