Christians and the Wilderness Experience. - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Friday, February 16, 2024

Christians and the Wilderness Experience.

Writing and Researching For  Christ  Mission 
Life is not a bed of Roses. There are period to sow, and there are the time of reaping. Just like it is said in the book of Ecclesiastic, there are times, every believers go through some times of turbulence , trial, or hardship that is regarded as the wilderness experience. This period is usually a period of refinement and preparation for the greater future ahead. When such situation occurs, it is as if there is no God; it is as if God has neglected such people.  But, usually as it is said that there is light at the end of the tunnel. After the wilderness experience, there is usually great light and rejoice. We shall be taking a look at this wilderness experience, examine the experiences of people in the Bible that have had the wilderness experience. 

The Israelites and the Wilderness Experience. 

“After the Israelites left the Red Sea, Moses led them through the Shur Desert for three days, before finding water. They did find water at Marah, but it was bitter, which is how that place got its name. The people complained and said, “Moses, what are we going to drink?” Moses asked the LORD for help, and the LORD told him to throw a piece of wood into the water. Moses did so, and the water became fit to drink” (Exodus 15:22-25 CEV).

Moses Had his own wilderness experience. 

Now here is a man with advanced knowledge of science, literature, wars, philosophy, and culture just somehow surviving life in a desert.
• He is living with his father-in-law.
• Raising a couple of children.
• Watching sheep that belongs to his father-in-law.
• All his dreams and vision in life shattered.
This is called the wilderness experience.
How long was Moses in the wilderness? Acts 7:30 After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years.
During the most productive years of his life Moses felt like an absolute waste, wasting his time in the wilderness. How many of you feel the same way? I’m wasting my best years; still I have not achieved anything in life. Do not get discouraged, I have good news for you today because God is working in your life today.

Joseph Was in the Wilderness of His Life Journey.

Historical background

Joseph was the son of Jacob and the grandson of Isaac. He grew up in the land of Canaan, but spent most of his life in Egypt. We are not completely sure when he lived exactly; some think from 1915 to 1805 BC, others think ± from 1750 to 1640 BC.
Joseph was rejected by his brothers
Joseph grew up in a large family. His father had four wives, each of which had several children. In total, there were twelve sons and at least one daughter. But father Jacob loved his wife Rachel more than the others, and he gave her sons Joseph and Benjamin a special treatment, e.g. by giving Joseph a special colorful robe. The ten older brothers became jealous of Joseph, and this was only made worse when he had special dreams in which all the brothers bowed down for him.
One day, the brothers were pasturing their father’s flock, and Joseph was sent to see how they were doing. The brothers took this opportunity to get rid of him: they threw him into a pit, and then sold him as a slave to some traders who happened to pass by. To hide all this from their father, they pretended that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.

God was with Joseph, despite his difficult circumstances

Joseph’s life was turned upside down. He was brought to Egypt and sold as a slave. He undoubtedly felt confused, sad, and alone. But the Bible tells us that the Lord was with him there (Genesis 39:2; 39:23)! His work was blessed and he got a good position in the house of his master, until his master’s wife falsely accused him of an attempt to sleep with her. Then Joseph was put in prison – but again the Lord was with him.

Two fellow prisoners had dreams that only Joseph could interpret. These were prophetic dreams, and they indeed came true. Years later, Pharaoh had confusing dreams too. Joseph was called to interpret them. God showed him that the dreams warned of a seven-year long famine, after a seven year period of plenty. Pharaoh was very much pleased with Joseph’s interpretation, and appointed him as ruler over all of Egypt to gather as much grain as possible to help the Egyptians prepare for the years of famine.
Joseph’s position changed from a beloved son to a slave, then to a prisoner, and finally to a viceroy, and God was with him all the time.

Joseph’s dreams came true

Back in Canaan, when he was only 17 years old, Joseph had dreamed that his brothers bowed down for him. Real life seemed to be very different, however. But Joseph never forgot about the dreams, nor did he turn his back to the Lord. And finally, when Joseph was appointed as ruler and his brothers came to buy grain, the dreams were shown to be true.

How long did Joseph Spend in the wilderness?

He was 17 when he was sold into Egypt
He was 30 when he was made overseer
He was 39 when his brothers first came to Egypt (second year of the famine, or nine years after being made overseer)
He was probably 41 or so when the brothers came a second time and Jacob comes to Egypt
He was 110 when he died

Wilderness life is essential

As they begin their journey to the promised land, the Israelites discover that the wilderness is an essential part of the way. It is the only route possible, but they are assured by the continuing cloud and pillar of fire that they are not alone. God is with them. Nevertheless it soon became evident that they were little prepared for the hardships of the way. Though delivered from the power of Egypt, the spirit of Egypt was very much alive inside them and they needed to be delivered from it. The wilderness experience was the place where that deliverance could take place. Deuteronomy chapter eight, verse two, explains God's purpose: "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you, to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. "

Wilderness experiences are essential for every Christian, for in that setting of barren emptiness and hardship we learn to rely on God for our needs and choose to obey him even when our own judgment suggests the opposite. Just as Israel discovered that the only way to their promised inheritance involved a wilderness experience, so today the Christian who is truly committed to the Lord will also learn that the path of growth must include a wilderness experience. Maturity in the Christian life is shaped in this way (1 Peter 1:6-7). The Lord Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Paul had a wilderness experience, and so did David and others. Moses, the one who led Israel through to the edge of the promised land had prior deep and lasting trials in a wilderness during his forty years of exile from Egypt.

It is true that Israel need not have spent forty years in the wilderness learning their lessons. They could have reached the land of Canaan much sooner. Like us, they were slow to learn and many of them never did learn to trust and obey God. Read again the passage referred to above, 1 Corinthians 10 , and see the record of those human weaknesses that drew them into loss of trust and therefore failure to go on to their promised inheritance, weaknesses that are as prevalent today as then. Fortunately, this same chapter tells us that we need never fail under temptation. God is well able to help us no matter what our circumstances may be (1 Corinthians 10:13.

After Wilderness is the Promised Land
While the wilderness experience can mean failure, and it did for so many of those who came out of Egypt, it can be enormously beneficial, as was evident in the lives of Joshua and Caleb. The wonderful spirit found in these two men was born out of their time in the wilderness. They went through their journeys with a firm trust in God and so reached the land of promise. If we are hankering after self-interest and personal desires rather than seeking what we might call the "Crown rights" of the Lord Jesus Christ then we will fail. It was in order to show his faithfulness, power and purpose that God led Israel out of Egypt, and while we cannot frustrate these plans of God we can lose the privilege of being part of them.

Caleb and Joshua not only succeeded but, much more than that, they became pioneers for the others, the new generation, to lead them into the land. That new generation of Israelites had an opportunity that their parents had forfeited, and Caleb and Joshua provided the link that kept a door of opportunity open for them. All through the years, the younger Israelites were able to observe and learn the difference between these two men and the others.

Those of us who are older need to remember that another generation of believers is watching us. They are not greatly concerned about our words. They are not influenced by what we profess to be, but they do take note of who and what we are in our lives. They look for evidence of the transforming power of our relationship with the Lord. Paul urged us to be followers of him as he was of Christ. That is the calling of every Christian: to inspire others to follow Christ by what they meet of him in us.

Moses, Joshua, and Caleb all convince us that the emptying of self interest which takes place in the wilderness, and the experience of being dependent on God in every situation of need are neither wasted experiences nor selfish achievements. They form part of the plan of God to bring us to maturity, and they enable us to serve as lighthouses for the generation that follows.

CONCLUSION: From the different account related in this write-up, it can be deduced that the wilderness is a place f learning and a place of refinement for the Christian. It is sometimes necessary to prepare people well for the victory ahead. Joseph had his own dose of the wilderness and it became a time of preparedness for him, the same happened to Moses and the Israelites among others. 

This message is coming to you from the Stable of Writing and Researching For Christ Mission. We can be reached tentatively via 90,ilugun-Itoko Community, Ajangboun road, Abeokuta. E mail: or 08035004741.

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