I think about the people of Israel wandering for 40 years in the desert before they were able to cross the Jordan and reach the promised land. That is a long time to be wandering in the desert. I think that many of us would be ready to give up after 40 days, or maybe some of us more spirited ones would make it 4 years. But how many of us would honestly say that we would make it 40 years on faith alone? How many of us would be honest and admit that we would wait 40 years on what God has promised us?
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“The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.” – Numbers 32:13
So how do we handle these tests and temptations in our lives? The answer is actually quite simple. As in every circumstance, we look to the Word of God, and the example of Jesus.
Similar to how Moses fasted for 40 days before delivering the 10 commandments, Jesus fasts for 40 days before delivering the Sermon on the mount with the new Law. But opposite of the people of Israel who failed repeatedly in the desert, Jesus teaches us how to appropriately respond to temptation and tribulation. Jesus battled temptation and attacks of the enemy by the Word of God, prayer, and fasting. And just because we don’t always immediately see with our eyeballs the physical manifestation of the results immediately after praying, don’t think that prayer doesn’t work. It does. And don’t think that because the Bible is old and dated that it does not contain the answer to every question or problem that you are facing right now or in the future. It is relevant yesterday, today, and forever. All we have to do is read the Word, seek the Lord first in all that we do, and in time He will reveal to us what to do, and He will fulfill our every need.
As I reflect on my life, it’s funny how in some ways it so closely resembles the people of Israelite in the desert. I feel like I did a lot more wandering than I needed to for forty years before I fully surrendered to Jesus. If there is any prayer that I have for you today, it is that you don’t wander forty years in the desert when the Promised Land is right here for you, right now.
I know that we all have our own life journey. And there are some folks that no matter what I say, are going to be just like the people of Israel during the time of Moses – too stubborn, too blind, too focused on the flesh, too proud, too “informed” by what the world says and not what the Word says, not close enough to know the love and truth of God our Father.
Is there anyone reading this who was a little bit like I was at one point in their lives? Maybe you are there right now, rejecting the love and truth of God our Father? How many of us know that God still performs miracles miracles every day, raining down manna from heaven? How many of us see these miracles? Would we even acknowledge a miracle if we saw one? Or would we be too proud, and “too smart” and spend all of our time trying to justify it and explain it with science and reason instead of giving credit to God? Do we criticize miracles by posting negative comments online when we really don’t know the truth of what happened? How often are we like the people of Israel back then, grumbling and complaining when we are so blessed, especially in America? Do we acknowledge God, and follow His commandments? Do we love God first and foremost, and love our neighbors as ourselves? Do we look for the good in others, or just look for a reason to argue and debate? Do we participate in love ralliesmy life. and for healing, or do we rally in anger and divisiveness?
I’d do anything to understand the lessons of the 40 years in the desert earlier in my life. Perhaps I could have avoided 40 years of wandering in the desert. But I also understand that my testing is now my testimony, my mess is now my message. And I am so thankful that God loved me enough to patiently wait for me and welcome me home after wandering for so long. And I know that those years in the desert prepared me for being in this moment, right here, right now, with you.
Are you walking through the desert, being stretched, or being tested? Are you finally ready for God to take control and lift you high upon the wings of an eagle? Cry out to Jesus. Call His name. Go ahead and give Him all of your troubles. God can handle it. You don’t have to walk through the desert for 40 years. Commit your ways to the Lord and see what happens. If you are ready to give yourself to the Lord, and commit yourself to him, do it now because God can restore you in the blink of an eye. And if you are truly ready, I invite you to message me and ask about a 40-day faith challenge, and we’ll set you up with a personalized plan to support you in your journey. I pray that you “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” – (Psalm 37:5). I call you blessed!
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word today. Thank you for bringing me through forty years in the desert. Thank you for preparing me for what lies ahead. I fully surrender my life to you Lord. I will be obedient to You Father God. We believe in Jesus Christ your Son and know that He is the truth, the light, and the Way home to you. We know that we need to put you first Lord. Strengthen us to commit to your Word Lord, and to prayer and fasting, and to model our lives by the example of the love of your Son. We receive You now, into our hearts, and we thank you for your eternal Promise and our inheritance, on earth as it is in heaven, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Today’s full reading: Numbers 32,33; Mark 10
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