Today as we look around, it seems America has become “a wilderness” (a neglected and abandoned area that seems inhospitable to live in). It seems we’re just like Israel, that came out of Egypt, and wanted to immediately go and occupy the “land of promise” God said was theirs without learning the lessons of the wilderness. I’m hearing both Amens and Oh-Me’s, some that get it and some that don’t. I believe there’s a lesson we need to learn before we enter our Promise Land, just like the Israelites had too. Here’s the lesson, God’s will for your life always takes you through a wilderness before HE let’s you own your Promise Land. I believe our wilderness experience is a place of problems and at the same time a place of purpose. Because it’s a place were you’re tested and proved as you discover who you really are! The wilderness produces “truth of ownership” as it reveals who and what owns you. It has the power of pulling back the covers that have hidden many agendas in our lives.
There’s a Hebrew word called Aliyah which means “a journey up” and is what God is saying in Isa. 40:3-4, “There’s a voice crying in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” God’s trying to get your attention during this wilderness experience, while you feel droughts, deserts and barren places that seem to be all around you. God’s teaching us (or trying to:) to trust HIM as HE takes us higher in our understanding of “The Way of the Wilderness.” Let me share with you the 3 truths of the Wilderness that I’ve found in my life.
- The Wilderness is a Place of Separation: Because God really wants your attention, HE brings the wilderness to you so you’ll let go of independence and choose dependence on HIM. He wants you to honestly come to HIM when you’re in need, instead of acting in self strength and running to whatever or whomever you’ve learned to medicate yourself with. We’ve heard, God did bring Israel out of Egypt but did Egypt really come out of Israel? What was only an 8 day journey took 40 years. WHY? Lessons of Separation that weren’t learned. One lesson was BOUNDARIES. The wilderness has markers and barriers that create areas that say you can and you can’t pass over. If we learn these emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual boundaries in the wilderness we can flourish when we step into our Promise Land.
- A Place of Preparation: This word means the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use. The question I have is, use for what? The bible says in Judges 3:1-2, God left Nations in the wilderness to test those Israelites who had no experience in warfare. In others words, to teach them how to fight. I think America has forgotten who we’re fighting. Eph. 6:12, tells us “We are not fighting flesh and blood (people) but against evil rulers of an unseen world.” Come on America wake up! Let’s stop shaming, blaming, retaliating (trying to get even) and then eliminating (canceling) each other while the devil just laughs.
- A Place of Revelation: The way of the wilderness is finally to get us to open our eyes and see what’s really in front of us. I’m reminded of the Biblical story of Balaam and his talking donkey…Num. 22, the story is about a King named Balak that wanted Balaam a prophet to curse the Israelites as they came through his land. Balaam was told by God “No-Way” but had second thoughts the second time the kings officials came back, this time with more silver and gold. So, Balaam stepped over a boundary and went with the kings officials. God gets mad and comes after Balaam while on his donkey. God allows us to walk away from His Perfect Will into what we call His Permissive Will, when we keep pushing. BUT HE doesn’t like it and tries to get our attention. Three times God tries to stop Balaam by standing in the middle of the road he’s traveling down. But only his donkey can see the angel with a sword. The angel stands in the middle of the wide road Balaam’s on…when the lesson isn’t learned HE stands in a narrower path. Lesson still not learned, HE finally takes a position at a Pinch Hole where only one person at a time can pass. It’s here Balaam and the donkey come eye to eye as they both now can see the Angel of the Lord. Balaam response is what God’s looking for from America today. A bowing down before HIM in humility and a confession, I have sinned, I didn’t know it was you standing in the middle of my road.