Do you ever feel like you’re wandering in the wilderness? Wilderness seasons can be difficult, draining, and discouraging. There’s a lot of wondering and waiting. And though the Lord always provides our manna in the wilderness, sometimes we begin to grumble and tire of it.
But God never said He would take us directly from difficulty straight into blessing. And just as God didn’t take the Israelites out of Egypt and immediately into the Promised Land, we too have a journey to make and a path to walk on the way to our Heavenly Promised Land.
Only in the Wilderness
Before they got to the Promised Land, the Israelites had to walk through the wilderness first. But here’s the great and encouraging news: God gave the Israelites specific blessings, experiences, and instructions IN the wilderness that could only be obtained IN the wilderness. And He wants to do the same for me and you!
As you read this list, ask God to speak to your heart in a personal way. Ask Him to show you the wilderness blessings He’s providing right now.
- Gave gave the Israelites a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day to direct them. (Neh. 9:12; 19)
- God protected them and provided for them. (Neh. 9:19-20)
- God gave them streams and pools in the desert for their thirst and brought water from a rock. (Neh. 9:15)
- He gave them manna for their hunger and it was always enough. (Neh. 9:15)
- He taught them to rest one day each week for their weariness. (Neh. 9:14)
- He cared for their physical needs and didn’t let their clothes or shoes wear out. (Neh. 9:21)
- He cared for their community and gave them the 10 Commandments and the Law. (Neh. 9:13-14)
- He cared for their spiritual needs and taught them how to build the tabernacle and how to worship. (Exodus 25-30)
- He gave them His presence and “His good Spirit to instruct them.” (Neh. 9:20)
A History of Faithfulness
Nehemiah 9:12-15 and v. 19-21 provide for us a timely summary and reminder of God’s faithfulness. As you read these verses, allow the Holy Spirit to stir your heart to remember God’s mighty works in your life:
11 You divided the sea for your people so they could walk through on dry land! And then you hurled their enemies into the depths of the sea. They sank like stones beneath the mighty waters. 12 You led our ancestors by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night so that they could find their way.
13 “You came down at Mount Sinai and spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and instructions that were just, and decrees and commands that were good. 14 You instructed them concerning your holy Sabbath. And you commanded them, through Moses your servant, to obey all your commands, decrees, and instructions.
15 “You gave them bread from heaven when they were hungry and water from the rock when they were thirsty. You commanded them to go and take possession of the land you had sworn to give them.
19 “But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night. 20 You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!
On the Way
God didn’t give the Israelites all of that provision and help when they finally arrived in the Promised Land… No, He gave those things to them on the Way.
There is so much the Lord does in our hearts and lives “on the way” — as we follow Jesus, help make disciples, and look forward to Heaven, our Promised Land.
This reminder has encouraged me so much this past month. It gives me hope and an excitement to see what all God wants to teach me and show me in the wilderness. I pray it encourages you as well!
Grace and peace,
“During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.”
Deuteronomy 29:5 NIV
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