De woestijn zal bloeien als een roos

From the Wilderness to the Promised Land


From the Wilderness
to the Promised Land


In the Psalms God commands us to “remember His marvelous works which He has done.” While this may seem a simple thought it is in fact one of the most profound and beneficial practices the child of God will ever engage in. When Israel entered the land of Canaan, God’s express command for them was to remember the One who had brought them in.

 God has always made good use of the wilderness. It was in the wilderness that Moses was transformed from a headstrong, impulsive semi-Egyptian into the meekest man on the earth. Here David discovered his leadership skills and John the Baptist grew strong in spirit “until the day of his manifestation to Israel.” Jesus was driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and after forty days emerged “in the power of the Spirit.”

 It was not the original plan that the Israelites, freshly delivered from Egyptian slavery, should have to spend forty years in the wilderness. Their wilderness time could have been more like a couple of weeks, had they walked in obedience and faith in their great Redeemer. But God is the ultimate Expert in making good use of secondary plans. He used Israel’s time trudging through the desolate places to shape a new generation of Israelites into a people who could enter by faith into that blessing their fathers had forfeited.

 Because these experiences “happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition,” it would do us well to consider the significance of wildernesses and promised lands in our own lives. Let us consider certain fundamental truths of wilderness living, as exemplified by Israel’s forty years of experience.

 Wildernesses are places of Need – Because the Israelites were a roving people throughout their time in the wilderness, they had little opportunity to accumulate any kind of abundance in material things. They could plant no crops and could only maintain small numbers of livestock that were able to live on the meager grasses that dotted the rocky landscape. They consisted of millions of people who were constantly on the move with almost no means to support themselves. They did not trade with other nations, they possessed only what they could carry, and were never established in any permanent dwellings.

 Wildernesses are places of Dependence – As a result of their desperate need, the Israelites were totally dependent upon God. Had God failed to provide for them they would soon have perished. In a sort of “pep talk” Moses gives to Israel shortly before they are to enter Canaan, he reminds them, “Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years… (God) led you through that great and terrible wilderness in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water, who brought water for you out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna…” (Deuteronomy 8:4, 15-16)

 While in the wilderness Israel had little and needed much. They needed a miracle every day just to survive, and they got it! Each morning (except for the Sabbath) the manna lay on the ground for their sustenance for the day. It may not have been terribly filling, and certainly they longed for variety, but it was enough!

 Wildernesses are places of Learning – The Israelites were doing more than just marking time as they followed the cloud and moved from camp to camp. They were being given the greatest lesson men and women can ever learn – God is faithful. Indeed their continual situation of need was for the express purpose of teaching them to keep their priorities straight:

So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord  (Deuteronomy 8:3).

When God’s people are in situations of great need their natural inclination is to look to the One who is the Source of all that is good. When things are too comfortable, too pleasant, and too easy we tend to take our eyes off of God and simply enjoy the blessings. But it is not by “bread alone” that we are to live. Man was made to live by the words and the grace that come forth from the mouth of the Lord. Wilderness times are highly useful to instruct us in this.

 Wildernesses are never the Final Goal – God may make good use of our wilderness experiences, but the wilderness is never His ultimate intention for us. The Promised Land is the goal; here we find our greatest fulfillment and ultimate destiny. Israel was not delivered from Egypt simply so they could march around the wilderness forever. The Scriptures tell us, “Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:23). To be sure there was a great delay in attaining Canaan due to Israel’s unbelief, but the eventual outcome had not changed – a place where Israel could exchange the scarcity of wilderness living for the abundance of their promised homeland. 

Our Wildernesses 

While still a young man I became fascinated with God’s purpose for Israel in the wilderness. I guess you could say I became a “wilderologist.” (sounds better than wildernessologist!) I began to recognize various situations in my life as wildernesses or promised lands. Throughout my years I have at times been in situations of great need, times when I practically needed a miracle a day just to keep going. This sometimes involved finances, but it could also involve ministry situations, emotional needs, or simply some great desire that I was believing God for, and waiting for the fulfillment of His promise.

 Again and again I have watched in amazement and wonder as God has turned such wildernesses into promised lands. While Israel was told the exact amount of time their wilderness would last, in most of our cases we have no idea. As we wait and pray and wait and pray and trust and pray some more, we recognize that a sovereign God is in absolute control of our lives, and we bow to His perfect will. The outcome is not in doubt, but the timing is in His hands. While in this time of waiting our faithful God makes sure we have all that we need (emotionally, spiritually, and physically). We may not have much in excess, we may need to wear the same clothes that do not wear out and live on some form of manna that does not measure up to a rib eye steak, but we have enough. 

Our Heavenly Joshua 

Israel needed a leader to get them into the Promised Land! There was no way they could get in by accident or even the keenest human planning. What was required was a man of God’s own choosing. Moses seemed the natural choice but, as the representative of God’s law, he was not the man. No amount of legalistic striving and human willpower can get you into God’s promised lands.

 It surely was no accident that the man God chose to lead Israel into their inheritance was named Joshua, the Hebrew equivalent of Jesus. Moses’ faithful and able assistant was a man who loved to linger in the tabernacle of meeting, soaking in the glory of God, long after Moses had received his instructions and left to carry them out. When Moses passed off the scene, God spoke to Joshua, “Moses My servant is dead.Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan.” The time had come.

 In our own lives, we too, need a Leader to get us into the inheritance our Father has prepared for us. That leader is our Heavenly Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Good Shepherd, He is the Consuming Fire who goes before us, destroying enemies, removing obstacles, and leveling mountains to make the way for our entrance into our own personal Canaans.

 The victory always comes through faith. Just as Israel simply needed to believe God and step out into the Jordan by faith, we too are called to trust our divine Shepherd to lead us from grace to grace and victory to victory. Recognizing our inability and His absolute ability is the key to entering in. With patience that allows God the time to accomplish His purposes in us as we wait, and faith that declares the outcome is certain, we look to our great Leader to do what He does so well – make a way where there seems to be no way. 

Don’t Forget 

Once we get in, we can by no means forget the One who brought us there. As we look around at the huge clusters of grapes, the rich soil, and the bountiful crops, we can be tempted to become so enamored with the blessings we lose sight of the Blesser. For this reason God warns Israel:

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills… a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper… Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today… and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage… (Deuteronomy 8:7,9, 11, 14)

 Our Heavenly Father is far more generous than most of His children realize. He gives wisdom liberally to all who ask (James 1:5), blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), freely gives us all things (Romans 8:32), gives good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11), and does exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). But He generally finds it necessary to take us through times of need and deep dependence before He opens wide His hand of blessing. Having been shaped and forged in the harsh wilderness, we are now prepared for the plenty of the Promised Land. For this reason most believers must learn, as Paul did, “to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

 Our Father delights as we enter into those blessings for which we have prayed and yearned. He does not begrudge us any “good thing.” He does make one request of us as we rejoice in His goodness – do not forget the One who brought you here, nor the way He so faithfully preserved you during those difficult wilderness days.

 God is good – all the time. In the wilderness and in the Promised Land.




Moving Into Your Promise land



Moving Into Your Promise Land

by John Belt  

A People of Faith 

God is looking for a people of faith. Jesus asked the question, "Will the Son of Man find faith on the earth when He returns in His glory?" We want to be found with a faith in God that is active and living.Passivity has no value in the Kingdom of God. God calls us to be actively engaging our faith by taking steps out into the unknown. Abraham was such a man that he went out not knowing where he was going. 
One of the reasons people never step out in faith is because of the uncertainty of whether they are hearing God or not. Because of the multitude of voices people are distracted from the One voice that matters. Many times it is the compromise of being a people-pleaser that cause people to lose the clarity of God's voice in their lives. We must be a people of the Holy Spirit, a people that are yielded to His life and reality. When we are listening to the voice of man for our direction in life the voice of God gets lost in the mix. Everyone has an opinion, but only God has our directions. He has specific directions for each and every person on the planet, a custom blueprint for our lives. No two blueprints are the same. Therefore we need to be wise in where we give our attentions. It is crucial we are a focused people of faith. If we lose our focus we lose our faith. 
Psalms 25:15 "My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net." 
The enemy has a net for every person. His goal is to keep us from God's best in our lives. Distractions are one of the key tools the enemy uses to get us off the path, to get us off track. Just as Peter was called out to walk on the water to Jesus, so are we. Peter began to walk on the water, but then took his eyes off the Lord. He lost his focus. Because of this he began to sink. The key to Peter walking on the water was him keeping his eyes on the Lord. God keeps us when our eyes are upon Him. When we set our love upon Him He will deliver us from all evil. When our eyes are upon Him that means that our ears are also attentive to Him so that we can hear His voice clearly. 

In Step with the Spirit 

Anxiousness is when we get ahead of God. When worry takes over then people lose their peace, focus and rest. Samuel was God's appointed man to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Saul was supposed to wait on Samuel to come offer the sacrifice on behalf of Israel, but Saul was anxious to make things happen in his own power. Saul offered the sacrifices to the Lord, something he was forbidden to do. This displeased Samuel and the Lord. Because of this trespass it was the beginning of Saul's end in Israel as king. His authority would now be stripped from Him because of his anxiousness. Anxiousness leads to doing presumptuous things. 
1 Samuel 15:22 So Samuel said: Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 
Anxiousness causes people to step out of sync with the Holy Spirit. God is not looking for the multitude of sacrifices but is looking for us to do the ONE THING that He has told us to do. The peace of God causes us to rest in the simplicity of our relationship with God bearing the fruit of righteousness and patience. His peace keeps us in step with the His Spirit. 
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 

A Different Spirit 

Numbers 14:24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. 
Those whose hearts are fully pursuing God have a different spirit. These are the ones who will enter into the reality of the promise land of God. We are a people of God's promises. We partake of the divine nature through His great and precious promises. Full whole-hearted uncompromising pursuit of God guarantees us entrance into the fullness of experiencing His promise land for our lives. What is the promise that God has given to you? What is the vision that God has shown you? We don't receive the promises of God just because we are Christians. There is a whole-hearted focus, determination, sacrifice and surrender to pursuing God that brings us into the land of promise. God has a divine inheritance for us that is beyond anything we can comprehend. He works with us waiting to see a fullness of pursuit with a focus that will not be distracted. Whole-hearted surrender is the foundation of such a person of faith. This person will have a "different spirit". 

Faith Without Question 

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 
The righteous are bold as a lion. God wants us to be confident in His promises. If God says it, that settles it. We need a revival of stubborn faith! We need a tenacious faith that will not let go. We don't need to have all the answers, explanations and reasons why from God to step out in faith. Abraham did not require such explanations from God. When God says, "Go!" that is good enough. We don't need everything figured out in our heads to move out into promises of God. When we take Him at His word we can know that God has everything lined up and ready to go. All we need to do is believe and move out where He shows us with full confidence and trust in Him.

The Promise Food 

Joshua 5:12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. 
God promised His people that He would take them into a land flowing with milk and honey. The day of manna from heaven was coming to and end. Once in the promise land there would be fullness of blessing. The milk represents the blessing of God. The honey represents the anointing of God. God has overflowing blessing and anointing for us. The days of manna from heaven are over. God gives us the food of His promise land. The manna represents the desert season. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise land for our lives. We no longer have to settle for manna. We can eat the food of the land of promise. There is variety, color, fullness and life for us in the promise land. No more desert, no more dry places. The promises of God bring us into a land of abundance, better things and the overflow with new adventures of conquest and expansion. Springs of life and rivers of living water overflow here. All of this is ours in the promise land. 

John Belt


Into the Wilderness - Mark 1:12-13


“And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him” – Mark 1:12-13

WildernessJust after the Father had declared His love for Jesus, acknowledging that He was pleased with Him (Mark 1:11), we now see Him in the wilderness, being tempted of Satan. In fact, the same Spirit which descended on Him like a dove drove Him there, and thus Jesus was with the wild beasts. Imagine that!

At a glance, one might think, ‘What irony!’ But God never said the path of the righteous would be easy. However, He did say, “Fear not, for Iam with you; Be not dismayed, for Iam your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV).

Perhaps you might be having your own kind of wilderness experience right now. You might even be thinking that you shouldn’t be where you are. Satan would like you to believe that you’re in the wilderness because God has walked out on you. But don’t be deceived. Being in a harsh place doesn’t mean God doesn’t care, nor does it necessarily mean you’re there because He’s displeased with you. Every Christian has a wilderness experience at some point. That is, we all go through trials. When we’re in the wilderness we shouldn’t say, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ but rather, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV).

You see, it’s in the wilderness that we really discover what we’re made of, where we see what walking by faith is all about, and where we really learn to depend on the Father. And remember, just as the angels were there to minister to Jesus, so also will God send angels into your life to minister to you. So don’t be afraid, but rather, “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4 NKJV).

Satan can tempt you, but that doesn’t mean He can defeat you. Don’t look at temptation as a sign of defeat, but rather see it as an opportunity to prove that he has no power over you … exercise faith in God. It makes no difference where you are, help is only a breath away. Don’t use that breath to utter disbelief in God; use it to cry out to Jesus instead. Thus, you will surely discover that help is already near.

We shouldn’t expect to be treated any differently than Jesus was. We must be willing to go where He went … to endure what He endured. Remember, the servant isn’t greater than the master, and because Jesus is our Master we can be assured to know that in all these things we will come out as “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 NKJV). Don’t let doubt drive you away from God, but rather remain faithful to Him in all things, and He will show you that there is nothing to fear in the wilderness.

~ Christopher S. Esty 




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