Most of us have erected walls of hostility at some point in our lives and have kept others at a distance. We may have erected those walls to keep family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or church members at a distance. Some of us may still have walls of hostility against some people. For many years, Esau and Jacob had a wall of hostility between them, but there came a time that they had to deal with it and tear down the wall. …
The Israelites who came out of Egypt desired to see the land of promise, but only Joshua and Caleb made it from that generation. What was different about these two? What was about Joshua and Caleb that gave them success!? What allowed them to have a sustaining faith in the face of the same trying circumstances that the others experienced!? …
The significance of light in nature cannot be overstated. Light facilitates life and allows God’s creation to grow and prosper in a healthy way. Similarly, we need God’s light for our spiritual well being. Without the light of God. humanity is disoriented stumbling around in the darkness. Jesus declared Himself as the light of the world. He came to turn on the light in a dark world to help people see clearly and choose life! …
In the last few devotionals, I shared about the life of Moses, Joseph, and Jesus and their wilderness experiences. In each of their lives, their wilderness journey had a different purpose.
In the case of Moses, the Lord had to break Moses’ pride and natural strength and to teach him to rely on Him fully. Moses experienced his own wilderness before he could lead the Israelites through their wilderness for forty years! He was being prepared to represent the Lord before Gods’ people, and he had to be shaped through humility, consistency, and perseverance in the wilderness.
As for Joseph’s life, although he was loved dearly by his natural father, Jacob’s love was not enough to fulfill God’s plan for his life! Joseph learned to lean into the Lord when he was all alone, and he had no earthly love to draw upon. It was during this time that God gave him more than a dream but gave him interpretation to others’ dreams that opened the door to his destiny!
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. Luke 4:13-14
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15
Jesus did not go into the wilderness because he had any sins or weaknesses in His life. Instead, the fasting and the wilderness experience allowed Him to come out full of power for what he was going to experience for the next three years of His life! He was being prepared for what was coming ahead as He was going to suffer on the cross for the sins of the world! He was also tempted in the wilderness in order to identify with our frailty and to be fully qualified as the High priest to intercede on our behalf before the Father. He remained strong and courageous when all the powers of hell broke lose against Him. He resisted every temptation and allowed the Lord to do His perfect will through His life!
What is beautiful and amazing about the stories of Moses, Joseph, and Jesus is that they were all gracious and forgiving towards those who mistreated them and falsely accused them! The wilderness had taught them to give up their rights to their own plans and to have a resolve for God’s will! They were willing to be the vessel that God wanted them to be in order to be used for the benefit of others! In the case of Jesus, His forgiveness opened the door for the entire humanity to have a chance to be saved from hell and darkness! The Bible shows us that many of God’s people experienced wilderness in their lives, and the Lord used the wilderness for His own purpose and for the benefit of His people.
If we are truly honest with ourselves thriving in the wilderness is a tough process! Many yearn to change the world but struggle greatly to allow the flesh to fully die in the wilderness! Why is wilderness so distasteful to most of us? Because there is nothing there to keep us busy or distracted. It’s boring! It feels like it will never end. We can’t set goals or make any progress. We are not in control! We don’t know what to do with ourselves, and we get fidgety looking around to get our hands busy with something. Our main focus becomes how to get out of the wilderness!
The wilderness experience is supposed to shape us for God’s glory and purpose! However, it is also full of temptations! Hence, it requires our attention, courage, and patience to be able to successfully persevere through it until such a time that the Lord gets us out of it! We don’t know how the Lord is going to do it, but we know that He is faithful and He will do it in time as we cooperate with Him!