This past weekend, we continued in our series, IN THE WILD, exploring the wilderness – the dry and difficult places we find ourselves in our lives.
And, what we looked at was the journey of the Israelites in Exodus 15-17.
At the start of this passage, the Israelites are miraculously saved by God, but then immediately find themselves in the literal wilderness. It seems that before they can enter the Promised Land, they first have to survive and wander through the wild.
I think this is true of all our stories – that before we can enter into the places that God has for us, the journey goes through the wild.
As we continue to read, we find that the Israelites come up against three significant challenges in the wilderness…
- They face the crisis of no water.
- They face the crisis of hunger.
- They face the crisis of no water, yet again.
What is happening here is that God is leading the Israelites into challenges, so that their faith can be tested – to see if they would choose to trust Him in difficult times.
And, each time, they complain to God and to Moses, saying that they were better off in Egypt.
So, what we learn from this is that the wilderness is really both a challenge to our faith and trust, and an opportunity for us to choose faith and trust.
The wilderness is both of those things: A challenge and an opportunity.
This is why we can see people go through remarkably similar difficult situations, but come out of it remarkably different. Some people face challenges and seem to become better people as a result, while others become bitter through the struggle.
Because, the wilderness is really a place where our trust is challenged, and where we can choose to trust God, or not.
In this passage, it’s really all about what’s happening in the hearts of the Israelite people – that God was bringing them into places to choose to trust, but in each instance they choose mistrust, rejection, and complaint.
It’s teaching us that the choices we make in the wilderness often become the habits we take out of the wilderness.
So, while I believe that we need to name when we are in the wild, we also need to trust God in the wild. This is the only way we will ever make it through the wilderness – by trusting God through it.
MAIN POINT: The wilderness is both a challenge and an opportunity to trust God.
CHALLENGE: Can you choose to trust God, even in the wild?