As a part of my One in a Million Bible study I've been reading a lot about the Israelites time in the wilderness. This study inspired this devotional. Enjoy and be encouraged!
Wilderness- a wild and uncultivated region, uninhabited or inhabited only by wild animals; a tract of wasteland.
“And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome Glory of the Lord in the cloud.” Exodus 16:10
Moses had convinced Pharoah to free the Israelites from generations of slavery and bondage. They must have been ecstatic to be headed to the Promised Land (Canaan)—a life of freedom, full of milk and honey. I can imagine that as they walked out of Egypt they discussed and planned for a new life filled with all good things. But, God had other plans—plans to take them on a long, arduous detour of a lifetime. The Promised Land was not in their immediate future, they needed to stop planning their lives in the land of milk and honey, because more than blessing them with an easy life, He wanted them to experience Him, to know Him, to be obedient to Him…all in the Wilderness. For years they had become accustomed to depending on their captors in Egypt for everything. Their lives in bondage were grueling, but their needs were met. In a sense, Egypt was a comfort zone because it was all they knew. Now, they needed to learn to depend on God for their needs.
God’s route was anything but the short route. He knew what the Israelites needed—they needed to learn to rely on Him, to develop a deep intimate relationship with their Creator. So, wilderness awaited them.
The thing about a wilderness is that it differs from a desert because along the way, when you almost give up, He provides refreshment and rejuvenation. As they traveled through the wilderness God provided many miracles, all that provided what they needed when they needed it. Parting the Red Sea, providing manna, and guiding them to springs were a part of their journey—tangible ways that confirmed He was their great Provider. Wilderness seasons are a part of His plan for our lives; they develop humility, dependence, and they reveal our true motives. Do we want God or do we just desire His blessings and promises? Have we been too dependent on Egypt (things of this world) to satisfy our deepest needs and wants?
In Priscilla Shirer’s One In a Million Bible Study she writes, “The wilderness is designed to reveal whether we really want God or if we just want to “get out of town” and to Canaan as soon as possible. He is interested in knowing if we’re submitted to the wilderness only to receive the rewards that come with Canaan or if we truly desire him more than anything…even the rewards.”
Are you traveling through the wilderness right now wondering when God will reveal Himself to you? Could it be that you’re so focused on your Canaan, your Promised Land, that you’re not really turned toward Him? What is your Canaan? To get that perfect job, to finally find the right spouse, to finally have a healthy pregnancy, or maybe just to become pregnant?
Pray that through the Holy Spirit that you would be able to see “the awesome Glory of the Lord in the clouds.” The wilderness is a part of His plan for your life. He wants to reveal Himself to you in ways that you never could have expected. He is with you, step by step, as you walk towards the Promised Land He has for you. As you traverse the long, desolate road of the wilderness know that He is with you ever step of the way, He will be your pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, guiding you, protecting you, and providing for your every need. Jesus knows that the wilderness is not easy, that it’s lonely, that there are temptations to turn back and head to our comfort zones, the “Egypts” in our lives. Press on dear friend. Look for the miracles on the journey and know your Promised Land does await you.