How to respond when God leads you into the wilderness

Friends, the following is taken from a daily devotional I've been writing for the season of Lent.  I felt it was especially apt for what some of us go through this time of year, so I'd post it to those who have subscribed to our River blog.  Regards, JT

 

Exo 14:11-12  They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness." And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.    

 

When the Israelites encounter their first testing after the amazing exodus from Egypt and Passover of God, what do they do?  First they cried out to the Lord (verse 2), that was a GOOD thing.  However, that goodness was short lived.  These three verses reveal three critical mistakes that the people of God make in their time of testing:

 

They begin to mistrust Moses' leadership - what have you done to us?  Why have you taken us out just to die in the wilderness.  They were happy to trust Moses when things were rosey and they were being emancipated from pharoah's hand, but what about when the Egyptian armies were coming in the distance, and it didn't appear that Moses had made the right decision? 

 

Therefore they begin to mistrust God's leadership - Moses was God's anointed leader.  Moses was simply following God's commands, yet their questioning of Moses was questioning God's leadership in their life.  God had told them He would take them to a Promised Land, but now they clearly did not trust either Moses or God's leadership.

 

They begin to complain - it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians.  Really?  Do they so quickly forget what it was like under Pharoah ... the genocide of their infants, the cruelty in labor having to build enormous monuments to foreign gods and cities of hubris?

 

This is a sad moment for the people of Israel:  They forget their experience in Egypt, and the slavery of Pharoah; they questioned God and His leader; they complained and they wanted to go back into slavery rather than forward with God into the Promised Land.

 

Application: 

 

Lent is a time of revisiting who WE are, and who GOD is.  For me it has been a very painful time, honestly, as I've seen areas of my life where I depend on myself, rather than trusting in God; where I've seen selfish ambition rather than surrender; where I've seen complaining and return to the slavery of my old self rather than moving into the new self God has for me in Christ.

 

Where are you in this passage?  Are you trusting in God's leadership in your life, even if He leads you like His Son into the wilderness.  Do you trust Him, or do you complain?  What is He showing you about yourself?  Are you able to take what you seen to Him in genuine confession and repentance, moving forward to the promised land of bearing the image of His Son - or are you really heading back to slavery to pharaoh (satan)?

 

These are hard questions, but important questions for all of us.  Who are we, who is God, and where are we truly headed emotionally, spiritually?

 

Prayer: 

 

Adoration:  Lord thank you for your leadership.  Thank you for taking us out of the hand of pharaoh and leading us to new life in Yourself.

 

Confession:  Lord, please forgive us when we don't trust you and when we don't trust those whom You have appointed over us.  Lord, when we go through times of testing, forgive us when we complain and gripe.  Teach us to trust You and others. 

 

Thanksgiving:  We bless you for testing, and what we see in ourselves as a result of what you allow us to go through.  You led Israel into the wilderness to test them as they were threatened by Pharoah's armies, You led Your Son into the wilderness ... we know You lead us into trials and testings.  We bless you for your Sovereign wisdom and understanding.

 

Supplication:  For faith, for trust, for integrity, love and hope.  For joy in surrender, and peace in contrition. 

 

 +++++++++

 

The River Exists to:

 

Encounter the Lord

Establish our Faith

Equip for Ministry

Engage the World 

 

Exo 14:11-12  They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness." And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.   

 

When the Israelites encounter their first testing after the amazing exodus from Egypt and Passover of God, what do they do?  First they cried out to the Lord (verse 2), that was a GOOD thing.  However, that goodness was short lived.  These three verses reveal three critical mistakes that the people of God make in their time of testing:

 

They begin to mistrust Moses' leadership - what have you done to us?  Why have you taken us out just to die in the wilderness.  They were happy to trust Moses when things were rosey and they were being emancipated from pharoah's hand, but what about when the Egyptian armies were coming in the distance, and it didn't appear that Moses had made the right decision? 

 

Therefore they begin to mistrust God's leadership - Moses was God's anointed leader.  Moses was simply following God's commands, yet their questioning of Moses was questioning God's leadership in their life.  God had told them He would take them to a Promised Land, but now they clearly did not trust either Moses or God's leadership.

 

They begin to complain - it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians.  Really?  Do they so quickly forget what it was like under Pharoah ... the genocide of their infants, the cruelty in labor having to build enormous monuments to foreign gods and cities of hubris?

 

This is a sad moment for the people of Israel:  They forget their experience in Egypt, and the slavery of Pharoah; they questioned God and His leader; they complained and they wanted to go back into slavery rather than forward with God into the Promised Land.

 

Application:

 

Lent is a time of revisiting who WE are, and who GOD is.  For me it has been a very painful time, honestly, as I've seen areas of my life where I depend on myself, rather than trusting in God; where I've seen selfish ambition rather than surrender; where I've seen complaining and return to the slavery of my old self rather than moving into the new self God has for me in Christ.

 

Where are you in this passage?  Are you trusting in God's leadership in your life, even if He leads you like His Son into the wilderness.  Do you trust Him, or do you complain?  What is He showing you about yourself?  Are you able to take what you seen to Him in genuine confession and repentance, moving forward to the promised land of bearing the image of His Son - or are you really heading back to slavery to pharaoh (satan)?

 

These are hard questions, but important questions for all of us.  Who are we, who is God, and where are we truly headed emotionally, spiritually?

 

Prayer:

 

Adoration:  Lord thank you for your leadership.  Thank you for taking us out of the hand of pharaoh and leading us to new life in Yourself.

 

Confession:  Lord, please forgive us when we don't trust you and when we don't trust those whom You have appointed over us.  Lord, when we go through times of testing, forgive us when we complain and gripe.  Teach us to trust You and others. 

 

Thanksgiving:  We bless you for testing, and what we see in ourselves as a result of what you allow us to go through.  You led Israel into the wilderness to test them as they were threatened by Pharoah's armies, You led Your Son into the wilderness ... we know You lead us into trials and testings.  We bless you for your Sovereign wisdom and understanding.

 

Supplication:  For faith, for trust, for integrity, love and hope.  For joy in surrender, and peace in contrition. 

 

 +++++++++

--------------

 

The River Exists to:

 

Encounter the Lord

Establish our Faith

Equip for Ministry

Engage the World