Paul’s time in the wilderness did not start when Jesus stated; “Saul; why are you persecuting me” - Acts. 9:4. It started when he went to the Pharisee’s with his goal of identifying and bringing to justice by the law those who did not keep the law in full view of everyone. But his redemption started when he came to the realization of his wrong thinking and actions. Some may think the Christian needs a jolt from God to wake them up from their ignorance. But this only results when we fail to heed what has already been laid down as our foundation for the Truth and when we do not stand in Faith as stated; “lean not unto your understanding (and) in all your ways acknowledge (listen to) Him, and He shall direct your paths (decisions)" - Prov. 3:5.
Whether or not one is a follower of Christ, there are times when our life doesn’t seem worth its trials and tribulations of ups and downs. We often wonder what is life all about and if there will be a day of satisfaction and fulfillment. For the unsaved, it's just life and their mantra tends to be; “live today and get as much as you can from it”. For the Christian, it ought to be the journey and not the destination that we live out and by how much we can give for God's Kingdom purposes. It is a life that ought to be about seedtime and harvest. And we do this by embracing the wilderness of life.
By the time Moses sees the Promised Land; he had completed his final cycle of seasons at the age of one hundred and twenty with each cycle representing a different role of disposition. His role nearing it's end; Moses as all good leaders know when it's time to relinquish their responsibilities by passing the baton as it were to the next Anointed leader. In this case; to Joshua. Moses fulfills the prime role of leadership which is to ensure the sacrifices made are not wasted but points to and continues the vision which is always greater and higher than anyone man onto the next generation.
The wilderness intent is to prepare us ultimately with the character we require to fulfill our destiny. To be and have as it is stated; “Christ in me the Hope of Glory - Col. 1:27. It is the shaping and smoothing of our rough edges just like an uncut diamond and as stated; "Behold, I (God) have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction" - Is. 48:10. The wilderness characteristics include:
Identity - To sharpen the only image that is ordained to defeat satan. That of Christ rather than that of the fallen man. God's prime reason for man’s creation.
No matter your status; a Christian ought to know that the wilderness is a time of discipline, training, and growth. It is the time when the darkness can be heavy and unbreathable. When that adage of “murphy’s law” seems to take over every aspect of the future. That if something can go wrong; it will! Many in the Body don’t understand this testing period or rather the preparation of the body, mind, and spirit for a destined purpose ordained by God. And because of this, many lose the reward of persevering through such frustrating events as stated; “(because they) have murmured against Me, (God); (they) shall not come into the land (Blessing)” - Num. 14:29-30.
God purposefully led the Exodus Jews away from the Promised Land for two main reasons. The first is that the group that came out of Egypt was already foreseen not to be able to change their thinking, expectations, and dispositions. They, unfortunately, would fulfill that saying; “that you can’t teach old dogs (person) new tricks”; which of course is mainly due to one's pride, stubbornness and laziness as opposed to the Word stating; "I can do all things through Christ" - Phil. 4:13. In their spirit, mind, and body, they had become comfortable, satisfied and tolerant of their master’s, the Egyptians. This mindset exists in the church today and is revealed by their words, actions and stagnant ways. They and others fail to learn, appreciate and observe one of life’s or rather creation’s greatest lessons. That change will happen! Either embrace it or be forced into it. And in the case of Christians; the foundation of Truth for change will either work for or be against you as stated; "My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge: because they have rejected (My Truth of) Knowledge, (by this) I will also reject them" - Hs. 4:6. Change is not too much about altering the core of a matter but adapting the core to influence the environment, atmosphere, and conditions that the core is required to operate by and under as it relates to Heaven, the Earth and its citizens; either by obedient or disobedient to the sovereignty of God. For without the acceptance of the Truth; change is naturally adversely administered.
Paul reflects ideally this purpose of Godly change which many of us see as the wilderness of trials and tribulations. And where we often see Paul; the finished product of change; we miss the uphill battle that Saul (Paul) experienced as he embraced his personal wilderness. The core of Saul’s misguided zeal was the Truth that is embodied in God. Which is self Righteousness! And by this foundation, Saul sought for all the chosen people to live up to that standard and attain Righteousness. His heart was in the right place but his method was wrong. This pro and con applies to many things in our lives, where we want to do the right thing but because of our immature thinking and clouded vision, we go about it often with the carnal flesh and the world’s mindset which either produces a counterfeit of what we want or takes us on winding roads that usually takes us around mountains that only leads right back to where we started. This is why it took the Exodus Jews forty years in the wilderness to finally reach their hopes, desires, and dreams. It is not God’s intention for you to take forty years to reach the Promise land of peace and prosperity.
Moses’ growth in these wilderness periods is troubled and retarded by one thing. Disobedience! Disobedience not by simple mistakes but by not trusting God explicitly and being reluctant in the changes presented during this journey. Changes that we must adapt to or are forced into. All wildernesses have a time constraint. And the more we resist the lessons needed to be learned; the more we risk our day of visitation which is the Blessing that will take us out of the wilderness and benefit us at a higher level than what we had before we embraced the wilderness. God doesn't go backward!
And like Moses, we fail to learn from those who went before us. God often reveals to us His goal and purpose for our life and we become so excited about it that we do not acknowledge our current disposition and the new required abilities needed to walk out of the wilderness into destiny. We like Moses have an identity crisis but once he came to the knowledge that he was a Hebrew and his people were slaves to the Egyptians; it would be natural and logical for him to seek out his people’s history to ascertain his place in his new-found family. God provided that need and requirement in the wilderness with his marriage to a Midianite who are descendants of Abraham. As the Body of Christ; by His Blood we have the identity of Jesus Christ; our author and finisher of our Faith.
From his wife's relationship and heritage; Moses would have learned about his ancestor Joseph; Jacob’s first true offspring; and of his trials and tribulations that isolated him from all he knew; landed him into persecution but ended in not only personal victory but also one for and with great benefits for the people of Israel. Moses would not only find himself in Joseph’s history but see and recognize the hand of God in his own as stated; “Yes (God); here I am” - Isaiah 6:8. Moses unlike Joseph learned often the hard way like many us to have unconditional trust in God who took steps to reinforce this with actions that not only demanded Faith but strengthened, stabilized and stretched Moses' resolve. Moses may have not crossed into the Promise Land but explicitly earned his place in God’s Kingdom.
Joseph may have not gone through the same amount of years as Moses but his life reflects every aspect of the wilderness that Moses had and that we can learn from. The level of wilderness experienced is in proportion to the task, difficulty, and complication of our destiny and Godly purpose. As stated; “The people perish when there is no vision” - Prov. 29:18. Joseph in many ways was an innocent brat being several years younger than his bigger and older half brothers. His contribution to the family was insignificant so it should not be surprising that after receiving his dreams he sought attention and affirmation from those he admired and looked to. He was seventeen when his wilderness started as stated; “sold into slavery".
Trustin God - To state and demonstrate with God nothing is impossible. The very premise of both the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. That with Godly Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding accessible through the Word which is life; Faith accomplishes its promise as stated; “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” - Heb. 11:1.
Vision via the dream - When we align the first two; then God speaks to us to put us on our path of destinies designed to not only bring us out of the wilderness but to reveal and reinstate only by God His Revelations of His Glory as stated; “For by grace are you saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; (and) not of works, lest any man should boast” - Eph. 2:8-9; affirming the required partnership for His Glory and our partaking in it.
Fortify your Love - As stated; “And now abides Faith, Hope, Love, but the greatest of these is Love.” - 1 Cor. 13:13. Where without (Godly) Love the others are not fulfilled but with perfected Love; fear is cast out which points us to the great act of Godly Love; sacrifice. By this we become aligned to the Righteousness of our Faith, Purpose, and Sonship which by the spirit given to us; groans and cry as stated; “ Abba, Father” - Rm. 8:14-16.
Clarity and Closure - Ps. 37:4 tell us; “Delight in God and He will grant us our desires”. God ultimately redeems, repairs and renews everything satan destroyed, stole and killed for. Then as stated; "the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". - Phil. 4:7. This is fulfilled when we walk by God's Spirit with an obedient heart and His Spiritual acumen.
God often allows us to experience a season of wilderness whether physically, mentally or even Spiritually where as stated He is able to by; "The hand of the Lord (God) came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley (wilderness); and it was full of (dry) bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?; (and) so I answered; - "O Lord God, You know”. Again He said to me; - “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! (and) surely I (God) will cause (My) breath (Spirit) to enter into you, and you shall live; (and) then you shall know that I am the Lord; (your God)". - Ez. 37:1 - 14. Embracing the wilderness is our pathway to Victory not only over satan but especially over ourselves to the right standing heir-ship of God's Throne and His Kingdom purpose as stated; “Jesus awaits for satan to be put under His footstool” - Heb. 10:13.
Flush it Out! - Come out of the wilderness and take your Righteous place.
By our actions, it is we who by default enter into the wilderness and it is only by God’s Grace some of us find the way out. We can remain in the wilderness by our pride or we can surrender by humility and learn to let God do what He does best and that is miracles. To be in the wilderness is to abandon ever attribute and support we have and to become an empty shell for God to refill and remold. We can only do this by embracing the wilderness with all its uncertainty, dryness and whirlwinds.
The consequences of not understanding and appreciating this process is as God stated; “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, (that) these people do err (is at fault) in their heart, and they have not known (appreciate) My ways” - Ps. 95:10-11. Why does God who knows of our fragility oftentimes seem to punish us? It is because you cannot receive Salvation and not expect to be a part of His purpose, not only for yourself but for Him also. It is like a person who has everything but has to be productive to define their worth not to others but themselves. God can't help but to always seek to improve our lot and lead us into His perfection.
Many have had their share of the wilderness and how we accept it determines the kind of travel that is experienced. Those who look back for a life of acceptance, comfort, and preservation will never reach the Promise Land practically, spiritually and mentally. They become loaded down with regrets, and by hindsight; they are never moving or pushing forward with any vision, optimism or hope otherwise known as the Faith journey. For the Exodus Jews this is reflected in their sarcastic complaining as stated; “(saying to Moses); because there were no graves in Egypt, (have) you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” - Ex. 14:11. Of course, those who did not embrace the opportunity that the wilderness offered; died. But within that original group; others like Moses looked forward believing, trusting and bearing their cross as God asked them to. Joshua is that man!
Mar. 3, 2020.
Embracing the Wilderness.
It is this marked difference between Joseph and Moses that will determine our level of victory and for which Moses did not fully walk in despite knowing of Joseph’s credibility and historic records. In many ways Moses likes us at times; fail to believe even with our eyes and ears as there would have been markers left of Joseph’s work and life that were intact as opposed to an archeological find. In our wilderness journey, we must not only perfect our Faith in God but equally our Faith in ourselves as stated; “Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (Faith), that you may abound in hope, through the Power of the Holy Ghost.” - Rm. 15:13.
As stated; “God is not a respecter of no one” - Acts 10:34. But He is an equal respecter of His purpose and our desires as stated; “Delight in God and He will grant the desires of your heart” - Ps. 37:4. Joseph’s wilderness comes full circle unlike Moses’ because Joseph's obedience by his actions is rooted in his source of redemption. Joseph finds and receives clarity and closure of his purpose and heart respectively. Moses did not. It is by our attitudes, actions and aptitudes that determine where and how we finish the race.
When compared both of these men had similar issues. They both had an adopted family of mix blood. Both had the surroundings of wealth and a comfortable life. And both lost and faced the challenges of losing familiar surroundings and relationships. And through their respective wilderness they both ended up in unfamiliar circumstances and newly founded families, wealth, status and accomplishments. But Moses’ never comes to full circle and closure with those who once loved him and has to deal with the regret of repeating the incident that first started his wilderness journey with the eventual death of his adopted brother; Pharaoh. Joseph comes full circle and closure when he now has the power and authority to enslave those who enslaved him but because of his heart for God; his heart can only reveal compassion, forgiveness, and reconciliation with his brothers. When we put God first; He will fill our greatest desires that complete us. For Joseph; it has always been family and until his death he enjoyed, cherished and was fulfilled by the very family who was reunited with him. This is why forgiveness brings closure and peace while offense only opens up rifts of suspicions.
As Christians, we are the adopted children into the family of Abraham and with this come trials and tribulations and more so being of Christ. We all are expected to have times of wilderness. Therefore; by Faith, we must embrace the wilderness and not allow fear to blind the light that is our beckon to journey through the uncertainty of life. And like Joshua, Joseph, and Jesus; by our obedience to God's purpose and goal for our lives, we will reach our Promise Land. .
One after the other; Joseph’s life seems to descend into more trials and tribulations from a well dressed rich kid to a slave in rags; then elevated to a prominent office and then back into prison and facing death at any moment. Yet, despite all this uncertainty Joseph unlike Moses matured in his Faith and obedience to his wilderness and trust of God. His vision sustained him rather than what he saw, heard and experienced. And eventually, he is restored to a higher position with greater benefits affirming as stated; “with God, all is possible” - Lk. 1:37.
Consider that Aaron was appointed as Moses second in command but it is Joshua who is placed under Moses' guidance and who would be Anointed (commissioned) to enter into the Promise Land and is one of the original twelve spies that as stated; “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” - Num. 13:33. And yet despite this; Caleb and Joshua were both optimistic to take the land from the giants which they eventually did despite being older. They both kept the Faith! This conviction of victory despite knowing the odds, challenges, and weariness of his companions is the testimony of embracing the wilderness with the expectation of receiving.
God knows what we need to not only receive His Blessings but to also be responsible for handling these Blessings. This period of wilderness preparation is often recorded as a forty-year cycle where the number four represents a season for changes which coincides with God's immutability to bring us into His perfect plan for our destiny and benefit. Only when we unconditionally obey His lead! Moses' life expresses these cycles not once but three times as if to indicate a change in his life’s role for three major events of God's purpose for not only him but for His chosen people.
At age forty despite being raised as an Egyptian from a child; Moses experiences Righteous indignation at the treatment of his fellow Hebrew and in a rage kills his fellow Egyptian. He is an Egyptian killing an Egyptian! Now, if you understand he did not break God's command of murdering which is pre-meditated killing but rather in a passionate defense of another killed the oppressor. Then; what was the crime that caused him to abdicate his status and pleasures of being an Egyptian? It was because, in his mind, the Egyptian had more value than the beaten Hebrew. He would not have been able to justify this death to an Egyptian court. And this with his shame caused him to abandon his comfortable life for one that was alien, unfamiliar and harsh to him. He without realizing it embraced the wilderness. This was Moses’ coming of age for his role in God's purpose. That he without knowing it became God's leader against injustice and unrighteousness. We may think Moses was being rash when he fatally hit the Egyptian but in his reality as often with ours, there are seeds planted in us that urges us towards God's Righteousness but is suppressed by political correctness, traditions, and cultural social graces. Moses seeing the mistreatment of the slaves over time churned on the inside of his consciousness until he could not help himself but make a stand against evil. He killed the slave master for justice and would eventually become the just advocate for the release of God's people from bondage to Pharaoh.
For the next forty years in the wilderness; Moses learned about sacrifice, not only for his family and livelihood but for his forthcoming task and destiny of challenging Pharaoh and leading God's chosen into their personal wilderness. A principle of Godly leadership; which is; you can’t teach what you have not experienced. Moses’ previous life and experience would have been the subject of intense conversation among the people who only knew urban living and now had to contend and adjust to living out in the wilderness without basic conveniences. They would have to at least believe in Moses’ experience not to mention in his Godly vision. His time in the wilderness prepared him for the leadership roles as shepherd, protector, and provider of God's lost sheep who themselves reluctantly embraced their wilderness.
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