Led Through the Wilderness

Eremos: solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited

3/29

1.

A Place of Provision

Israel in the wilderness and a god who provides for us.

2.

A Place of Revelation

Elijah in the wilderness and a god who speaks to us. 

3.

A Place of Discovery

Paul in the wilderness and a god who transforms us.

4.

A Place of Transition

Jesus in the wilderness and a god who prepares us.

Introduction

 

I love going camping. I am obsessed with shows like “The Last Alaskans.” They are in the middle of nowhere, completely living off the land and living in isolation. They have no tv, no social media, and very limited contact with the outside world. This life style seems appealing when it's one that you choose. But what happens when you don't choose the wilderness, instead it chooses you? See, you don’t have to go camping to be in a wilderness. The wilderness can take on so many different forms.

  • You can be in a city of 10 million and be in a wilderness.

  • You can have all the money in the world and be in a wilderness.

  • You can be in a relationship and be in a wilderness.


The wilderness is a place of desperation, of loneliness, a place of fear, and definitely a place that so many of us try to avoid. Wealth doesn't matter, race doesn't matter, age doesn't matter, the reality is that the wilderness is unavoidable.

But I would be remiss if I did not share that it's in the wilderness that God has moved so powerfully in so many people's lives that came before us.

  • When God wanted to lead Israel out of slavery and into the promise land they were first led into the wilderness.

  • When God wanted to speak clearly to Elijah he led him into the wilderness and spoke to him in the mountain.

  • After the scales fell from Paul's eyes he went to Arabia into the wilderness and came out a different man.

  • After Jesus was Baptized by John the Baptist, who was living in the wilderness, and before he started his public ministry God took him into the wilderness.


We are in a time in life that the majority of us find ourselves living in a wilderness. Here are a few principle's, from those who have gone before us, that will help guide us through.

1.  A Place of Provision

Israel in the wilderness and a god who provides for us.

 

EXODUS 16:13-15
That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

When we have nowhere else to turn we have the opportunity to turn to God.

  • What is it? We call it manna but God call’s it provision.

  • God’s promise to you is that he will provide manna. They didn't know how it would happen or what God would us but He provided.


The same God who provided for your past will provide for your present and for your future.
 

2. A Place of Revelation

Elijah in the wilderness and a god who speaks to us.
 

1 KINGS 19:11-12
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

Not all voices should carry the same weight and the wilderness tends to clarify the voices that matter most.

  • The only voices that really matter in the wilderness are the voices of people that love you.

  • Love clarifies the most important voices.

  • God speaks the language of love and he desires to speak to us.


If God wanted to speak to you what do you think He would say?

When I desire to hear God's voice here's what I do:

  • I ask God to speak to me.

  • I read the scriptures. The more you read the scriptures the more familiar you get with His voice.

  • I keep repeating steps 1 & 2 and wait patiently.

3. A Place of Discovery

 

Paul in the wilderness and a god who transforms us.

 

GALATIANS 1:13-16, 21-24
For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.
Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.


For you have heard of my previous way of life.

  • The wilderness clarifies things in our lives that truly matter.

  • It shines a light on the things we should let go.

  • It brings to surface the questions we have all asked ourselves, "What am I here for? What really matters?".


The wilderness is the place our identity changes.

But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles.

  • It's safe to say that we are influenced by the people we spend the most time with.

  • When you spend time with God not only will you find grace but you will discover your purpose.


The more time Paul spent with God the more his character changed.

  • He discovered grace.

  • He discovered his purpose.

  • He discovered his confidence.


“The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.

Who will be praising God in the future because of what God does through you in this season?

4. A Place of Transition

 

Jesus in the wilderness and a god who prepares us.

 

MATTHEW 4:1, 11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil.....Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

We might not know where we are going but we know who we are going with.

  • The God who led you into the wilderness will lead you out.

  • The questions of 'why' don't seem to matter as much when you know the 'who'.  

  • The Devil eventually left him alone but God never did.


The wilderness is often the place God prepares us for the next season.

  • Every new season in life requires a transition.

  • God has a purpose for every season.

  • The wilderness season we are in now might be the place He prepares us for the new season ahead.


What if God wanted to prepare you to transition into something new?

This is definitely not a season that any of us chose for ourselves but I wonder if this is a season that God wants to be intimately involved in our lives.

So what should I do? 

1. Moses prayed for Israel.

If you have a need let's ask God to move on our behalf.  
 

2. Elijah listened to the voice of God.
Let's eliminate some distractions, turn off the TV / news and listen for God. 

 

3. Paul sought God in the desert.
The scriptures say seek and you will find.

 

4. Jesus followed God into the wilderness.
His posture was one of trust. No matter where God is leading you, you can trust him. 

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