In the Wilderness - Part 1

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I
cannot see him: (Job 23:8, 9)

Mountaintop experiences are always wonderful! We live in the high places close to the heart of God. We walk in His presence. We commune as it were, face to face with the Most High. But alas, it happens. We are shaken from our high summit to the valley below. Still, we sense the presence of God. We know He is with us. He walks with us through the shadows. We know of His loving mercy and care for us. But then . . . .

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Job in the Wilderness

But then we enter the darkness. His smile fades. His presence is withdrawn, and we like Job lose sight of the Saviour. We long for the mountaintop again, but it is too high. Perhaps we like Job, have friends to comfort us, but to no avail. We seek the presence of God, but He is nowhere to be found. At least it seems that way.

We attempt to go forward. Surely God will be there. We look behind for His light, but there are only sad, dark shadows. To our right and to our left, He is hidden from us. He has placed us in the Wilderness.

Albert Barnes says of this passage in Job, “The meaning of these verses is, ‘I go in all directions, but I cannot find God. I am excluded from the trial which I seek, and I cannot bring my cause to his throne.’ Job expresses his earnest desire to see some visible manifestation of the Deity, and to be permitted to argue his cause in his presence. But he says he sought this in vain. He looked to all points of the compass where he might rationally expect to find God, but all in vain.”

There are at least three ways of finding ourselves in the wilderness, but only one is truly God-sent. Even though God was working in Job’s life, it was satan that was sent to test him. You may find yourself in the wilderness due to satanic activity in your life. God certainly allows satan to test us and try us just he did in Job's case.

Jonah's Wilderness

Source

You may bring yourself to the wilderness through sin and wrong choices as was the case with Jonah. God will allow you to live unto yourself, and He will remove His hands from your life – thus we find ourselves in the wilderness looking for God’s help, but seemingly not able to find Him.

I believe a true wilderness experience is neither fueled by satan nor by our own sin and rebellion. Rather it is orchestrated and planned by God fitting neatly into His perfect will for your life. We read in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” When God chooses to limit our own abilities; when God chooses to limit resources; when He allows the shades of night to creep in and block the Son of Light, know that it is His good and perfect purpose that is working on your behalf.

Have you ever found yourself in the wilderness due to

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Moses in the Wilderness

The Children of Israel chided with Moses, “And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:11, 12).

If you are in the wilderness, and if you have examined yourself, and find no fault, go to the next level. Ask God for discernment to determine if it is a satanic attack. If God reveals no satanic activity, know that it is God’s good and perfect gift. Count it as a blessing sent from the hand of God, and do your best to rejoice in it.

At the end of the wilderness road you are sure to find a blessing. Just stay on course.

Findings in the Red Sea

Moses was the one to be blamed by the Israelites for bringing them into the wilderness; a wilderness surrounded by high cliffs to the left and right, the Red Sea in front, and the Egyptian army behind. Everywhere they looked there was darkness, not so unlike the place where Job found himself. It appeared as if God abandoned them, but these circumstances were not brought on by self, neither the devil. These circumstances were God-sent, and God-planned.

Look back at Exodus 14:2-4. “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.”

We all have had a Red Sea experience in our lives. Just remember - you are not alone!
We all have had a Red Sea experience in our lives. Just remember - you are not alone! | Source

Notice the order to encamp by the Red Sea was given by God Himself. It was not Moses’ choice. God led the children of Israel to this barren, troublesome spot. It was God’s will for His people to be trapped on all sides (verse 2). In verse 3 He gives the reason. Pharaoh will say they are entangled in the wilderness. Then in verse 4, God alone hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that God alone gets the victory and the glory. God led Israel into the wilderness for His purposes.

Isaiah 1:19, 20 says, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Then in Exodus 15:2 we read, “The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.”

God was the One glorified in this situation. But the Children of Israel were the beneficiary. Why? Because they obeyed. Obedience always brings blessing. I might add this was not even willing obedience. There was murmuring, fear, anxiety, and rebellion. Still they followed the direction of the Lord, probably due to the fact that they had little choice.

God’s wilderness can be very difficult. We may question and argue, but God always knows best. Is your heart centered on Him? It is about God shining forth in His glory, not about you remaining in your comfort zone. You will however, as a by-product, be blessed and rewarded by the God of Heaven.

In Part 2 of this series we will look at David's wilderness experience. If these mere mortals could overcome, so can you and I. It was God working in them. If you are to overcome, it must be God working in you. Until next time . . .

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Comments 17 comments

MsDora profile image

MsDora 16 months ago from The Caribbean

Very insightful. Only an awareness of God's presence and His love can keep our minds stable in the wilderness. Thanks for your illustration of Job, Moses and Jonah in their wilderness.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 16 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi MsDora,

Glad you could stop by. You're absolutely right. I honestly don't know how some can function without God in their lives. Times when He seems to be far away are the times He's the closest, even if we don't sense Him as we should. Thanks for making the trip!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

Whenever I have ventured into the wilderness, Bill, it has been due to choices I have made. When I've stumbled out of the wilderness, it's been due to choices I have made. There's a lesson there somewhere. :)


lifegate profile image

lifegate 16 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Yes Bill,

There most certainly a lesson there, and a big one at that. It's better to venture out than to venture in, I think. As always, thanks for stopping by!


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 16 months ago

Hello lifegate.

Knowing God's faithfulness and experiencing his love all the time, while in the 'wilderness' I know He is keeping his promise "I will never abandon you or leave you." HalleluYAH.

Voted up and interesting.

Peace with us.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 16 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Michael,

We can certainly stand on the promises of God. His ever-presence is one of them. Thanks for reading and for the votes.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 15 months ago from Southern Minnesota

Hi Bill, Yes, and Amen, that we can take comfort that God is never surprised by our predicaments as they are all under His careful orchestration and observation.

I most often have been guilty of creating my own wilderness experiences and am so grateful for all of the difficult things that He led me and let me experience that I might seek Him with my whole heart and let Him be Lord instead of me.

A blessed read as always!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 15 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Tammy,

Glad you were able to stop by. I think all but a handful of wilderness experiences were caused by own hand. Sometime it seems I'm my own worst enemy. If I could pick one word that sums up my life it would be grace - God's grace. Every time I mess up, He's right there to pick me up again. Thanks for the visit.


einron profile image

einron 15 months ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Glad you were able to repent and God forgave you.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 15 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Me too, einron!


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 15 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Thank you for an interesting and well-written article. God bless you.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 15 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

You're quite welcome, Blossoms.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 15 months ago from Southern Minnesota

Hi Bill, I so loved the revelation that "God is..." is used 150 times. What a great study that would make to look at each one.

So true that in our darkest moment He is so very near and we so need to encourage ourselves as David did when we are in the wilderness.

Encouraging piece!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 15 months ago from Southern Minnesota

That was for part 2 Bill sorry about that...hit the back button


lifegate profile image

lifegate 15 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

No problem, Tammy. I'm just glad to have you stop by.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 15 months ago from Upstate New York

lifegate: A wilderness experience is the royal pits! However, I have lived long enough to know that God is in everything. Thank you for the great examples you use in this wonderful hub. I have studied the book of Job and it is a terrific story of how God never fails us. I have seen the Ten Commandments movie so many times, and of course I love David in the Bible. Lessons I have learned is the importance of total dependence on God every minute of every day.

Each morning I give 100 percent of my day to God...so whatever happens that day I have the assurance that God is in it.

You are so right: God leads His people into the wilderness for His purposes.

Thank you for the genuine, loving enlightenment you are sharing with others on the hubs. Blessings, Sparklea :)


lifegate profile image

lifegate 15 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Sparklea,

"Lessons I have learned is the importance of total dependence on God every minute of every day." If there's only one lesson we can learn from the Bible, that ought to be it. That sums up all of life's lessons. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment.

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