Driven by the Spirit

Paper Photo inside my Bible

Spirit Driven Bitterness

So, there’s a thought that has passed through my mind a few times recently for no apparent reason. The thought was the literal experience of when Jesus was tested with emphasis on the time frame. Like, did he walk (if so, what a journey that must have been)? Or was he taken immediately into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I found myself flipping through my Bible. It opened to a page (Ezekiel 3-4) where I had randomly tucked a paper photo inside my bible. I flipped and then flipped some more. Disgruntled, I closed my Bible. It was then that my eye caught my son’s Bible in the half opened dresser drawer. It had laid there unnoticed since I’d given him a new Bible months ago.

I reached for the Bible and opened it. I stumbled upon the verse that mentioned my reoccurring question about Jesus’ journey to being tempted.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matthew 4:1
Ok, so, This verse gave a reference to another verse:

“And Immediately the Spirit driveth 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 unto him.” Mark 1:12,13

Hmmm… Never caught that before; the Spirit led/ drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. This means God certainly not only allowed it, and approved it, but pretty much commanded Jesus to go into that wilderness.

And just before these verses my eyes find:

“And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11
I get the quick mental picture of a Coach patting his star quarterback on the back and then sending him into the most challenging game ever.

Ok, back to the original verse in Matthew 4:1. Kris’ Bible gives another reference; Ezekiel 3:14:

“So, the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” Ezekiel 3:14

So, this verse talks about Ezekiel’s mission to a rebellious nation. In chapter 2 he is warned that they are a stiffhearted, uppity bunch. He’s cautioned not to be afraid of their words though briers and thorns with him and scorpions around him.
And in this verse it says he went in bitterness. I imagine I’d not be too happy either.

As I continue to read, I find Ezekiel 3:26,27:
“And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.
But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house."

Ezekiel would be unable to speak except by divine permission. Oh, this is so my prayer. That only divinely permitted words would flow from my mouth. I fail so much in this! The scriptures repeat the fact that Ezekiel was to speak to a VERY rebellious bunch. I identify with this in my own life. Those who have remained in our prayers for a lengthy time period seem to be indeed a rebellious bunch, stepping to the beat of their own drum and ignoring the obvious. Sounds like our nation in general these days.

So, as I chase this rabbit through the scriptures, I find Jesus was Led/ driven into the wilderness for temptation by the Spirit, and Ezekiel went in bitterness as he was escorted by the Spirit. Doesn’t sound like pleasant trips for either. HOWEVER, God spoke to each clearly as how pleased he was with them and the task at hand was mighty important.

Applying this to today’s world; What God created us to do is not always a pleasant journey. If our lives were written about in the bible, words like bitterness and driven would probably be used a lot. That said, if God allowed such unpleasant journeys in lives of which He so greatly praised (like Jesus and Ezekiel), why do we, today, feel life should be just about all easy, fun stuff? Why does our generation feel we “deserve” a better journey than those like Jesus and Ezekiel? We each are created for a specific job for His Glory. Even though I may go in bitterness as I’m driven to what I’m created for, I pray I do achieve the goal God planned just for me.

As I reread these verses today, I grabbed MY bible so I can underline the verses. When I flipped to Ezekiel 3:26, there is the paper photo… where my bible originally opened last night.

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