The children of Israel were in bondage for over 400 years. They labored and toiled to build treasure cities for the Egyptians. The funny thing about this type of bondage is that it can be excepted as the “norm.” If in a situation long enough, no matter how bad it is, it will eventually will consider it to be normal.
This was the case with Israel. God had awesome plans for them. He made a promise to Abraham that He HAD to fulfill. That promise was a Good Land for Abraham’s seed. Therefore, God sent Moses as a deliverer to rescue Israel from the “house of bondage” and take them to the promised land, a land flowing with milk honey, an abundant land.
The initial deliverance was dramatic. It took ten plagues to break the spirit of Pharaoh and get him to acquiesce to release Israel. Eventually Israel was released with riches beyond measure. It was a truly amazing scene. What joy! What exuberance there must have been. They were finally released from bondage and taking massive riches with them. God heard their cries and it was good.
They were physically released from bondage, but inwardly they were still bound. After all those years in bondage they had minds that needed to be transformed. They had to learn to live by faith. They had to learn that they no longer had to toil and labor to survive. God had to renew their minds to stop thinking like slaves and start thinking like sons. They had to learn to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
To change a physical position is easy compared to changing the way a person thinks. God is wise, so He lead them through a wilderness to teach them not to live the way they were accustomed to living. They had to learn to live by God as their source. More specifically, by God’s Word. In other words, their minds needed to be transformed.
In the wilderness, there was no food. Yet, they saw God supernaturally provide manna from heaven. They saw God supernaturally provide water from a rock and that rock followed them the entire journey! They saw God provide for them again and again. Yet, their mental training in Egypt was so strong they wanted to go back. A life in bondage was predictable and safe. The life of faith made them feel uneasy and out of control. Because of their stubbornness, God had to keep them in the wilderness until their unbelief died out and faith took over. They needed courage to enter the Good Land and take possession of it. This courage could only come by faith.
It is no different for us today. Every human being is born in bondage. We are born to fight and struggle for survival. We were born slaves to sin. Then one day the light of glory of the gospel of Christ appeared to us and delivered us from that bondage. We went from the status of a slave of sin to a son or daughter of God. Though our position changed our disposition needed to be change. This change could only take place by renewing our minds through the living Word of God. Thus, our wilderness journey began. In the wilderness, God trains us not to live by sight. He trains us not to live according to our five natural senses. Rather He is training us to live by faith. He wants us to depend on and trust Him in everything and in every way. He wants us to learn to live by His Word, a word that will guide us to our “Good Land” where we will enjoy a successful and abundant life. The natural mind will not get us there. Only a renewed mind will suffice.
Israel’s wilderness journey was 40 years. However, it could have been much shorter. Because of their stubbornness, murmuring, and complaining the journey lasted way longer than God intended. They looked to another god to take them back to slavery (a golden calf); a perverse place of safety and security. They didn’t trust the true God, even though they saw and experienced miracle after miracle. They were stiff-necked and hard hearted. The did not listen for receive God’s Word and live by it as their source and power.
How about us? Are we any better? Have we reached our “Good Land?” Are we living in a place of abundance? If we are not living the good life, a life of abundance and joy, we must face the truth; we are still in the wilderness and it’s time to get out and enter OUR Good Land! It’s time to take God at His Word, trust Him, and obey what He says. Obedience is not for God, it’s for us. Obeying God’s speaking is His way of getting us from where we are to where we are destined to be.
We all have a portion in the Good Land. We all have a purpose and destiny. We all have territory to take. However, there are enemies in the territory God has allotted to us. That’s why we need the wilderness; to prepare us to live by faith and TAKE what is ours by faith. Enemies occupy our Good Land and they need to be routed out and the only way that can be done is by faith in God’s Word. God’s Word infuses us with faith AND courage to take what is ours in Christ. Our assignment may have its genesis in the spiritual realm, but it needs to be carried out in the physical realm. The Good Land God has allotted us is on earth and it is physical. It may be a business. It may be writing books. It may be full-time ministry. Your Good Land could be myriads of things. That is something you will have to discover with God. Just know, that whatever your Good Land is, it will produce abundance in your life. It will be rich and produce many riches in many ways. That is the nature of the Good Land. It’s a Land flowing with riches beyond measure and it’s yours to discover, fight for, and inhabit.
So, the question is: How long will you stay in the wilderness. How long will it take for God to convince you that He is faithful and true. How long will it take for you to trust God and His Word explicitly. How long will it take to flush doubt out of your old un-renewed mind and be transformed in your thinking? How long will it take to possess the mind of Christ? The answer to these questions will determine the length of time you will spend wondering around in your life, unfulfilled and seemly lost. The wilderness is not the final place of our occupation. It is only a training ground for God to prepare us for the wonders of His goodness.
The wilderness is necessary, but only for a time. The shorter the better. Don’t think you must stay there. Seek the Lord. Get into His Word. Develop a life of pure faith just like Abraham did. Go where He leads you. Do what He instructs you and immerse yourself in His solid, trustworthy Word. Before you know it, you will face your Jordan River with confidence and boldness ready to take possession of the Good Land God has promised to give you.
I have been wondering in the wilderness for over 40 years. It’s sad, but it’s my case. I admit it and have learned and am learning to take territory in the Good Land. I have a portion there. I have faced my fears and have crossed over. I am taking possession of my portion of this Land. Will you join me?