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THE WILDERNESS TEST

December 12, 2014

Wilderness = A desert, a tract of land or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, an area of land where people do not live or grow crops and where there is no building. A period of time when you are not as successful as you were previously, and a state of disorder.

On today I am going to share information on Israel’s wilderness test, and I pray this information will aid you in your walk with God.

According to the scriptures, the children of Israel had been in Egypt for 430 years, and while there they became an idolatrous people worshipping the gods of Egypt (Ezekiel 20). Nevertheless, God, because of His mercy, and Word to their forefather Abraham, sent a deliverer named Moses to deliver them from the tyranny of Pharaoh, and to bring them out of Egypt.

After ten plagues, the last being the death of all the firstborn males of the Egyptians, Pharaoh permitted the Israelis to leave; however, he quickly reverses his decision and pursues after them which ends with him and his army being drowned in the Red Sea.

Exodus 13:17-18a states, “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.” Being in bondage in Egypt had its advantages, for the Israelis as a people did not have to engage in warfare. The disadvantage was, they were not trained soldiers, and they were not equipped for war. Therefore, God directed them in a route that would prevent discouragement and attack from the hands of their enemies. He took His people into the wilderness.

In Deuteronomy 6:2-5,14-18 Moses in his farewell address to Israel further discloses the reason for the wilderness experience. He states “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.” and “Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” So, the wilderness as defined above as a dry, uninhabited place became a classroom for Israel to learn about themselves and God. Their experiences were not always pleasant; sometimes, it was painful and grueling, but all with purpose.

In this place where there were no great nations dwelling to influence them or a place to purchase the daily conveniences and provision of Egypt, Israel was humbled, tried and proved. Unlike Egypt where all their basic needs were met, they now had to depend on God to supply their needs. This was done to reveal to them their real character and willingness to be grateful and obedient to their God. The goal was to teach them to adhere to the Word of God, which would sustain them in every situation. Also, in the future, when they became a prosperous nation, the wilderness experience was supposed to remind them of the greatness of their benefactor.

Unfortunately, Israel failed the wilderness test miserably. They continually murmured, complained, and rebelled against God (Numbers14:22), and God chastised them for their actions. Moses, after forty years in the wilderness, admonishes them, “to be no more stiffnecked” because he knew firsthand that Israel had yet to humble themselves honestly (Deuteronomy 10:16).

Regrettably, Israel’s actions mirror us. God continually proves himself to us, but we question His ability when problems arise in our lives. We do not yield to His will and often display an unteachable spirit. We doubt, complain, stress, and turn from God. When He chastises us, we wonder why we are experiencing bad things. Many of us are slow learners, and for this, we suffer the consequences.

The five requirements of God that Moses shared with Israel remains the same for us today, and if we do them during our wilderness testing, we will not fail. So, I close with these valuable words of Moses, “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

From → Test Series

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