"And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD." Deut. 8:2-3I never stop learning about the wilderness season. No matter how many times I've passed through this dry and weary land, I never stop learning of its purpose. Before we move to the next level with God, we will have to pass the wilderness test. It is here that our hearts are thoroughly tested. It is here that our love is tested. It is here where we encounter God's discipline and rebuke. This test determines if we move into the land of milk and honey or if our stay in the wilderness is lengthened.
What I am writing you this day has cost me many tears. This is no easy lesson. I can't sugarcoat this season. You will have to go through the wilderness to enter the promised land. Please listen to my wisdom; it will be better for your soul.
I've fallen in love with chapter 8 of Deuteronomy. Moses doesn't get to enter the promised land so, this book is actually Moses' last words before his death (which God has already informed him of, by the way). It hardly seems fair that he doesn't get in, after putting up with Israel's stubbornness, but if he had gone in, I wouldn't be reading this passage.
So, at the beginning of my test, I was very hesitant. I wasn't really letting God's rebuke transform me. Who loves to be disciplined? Who loves to only receive punishment? No one does. But then the Lord showed me that discipline is an act of love. And knowing this, brought healing to my flesh and refreshment to my bones (Prov. 3:8).
"My [daughter], do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom He love, as a father the son in whom He delights."He delights in me. He doesn't want to hurt me, just because. This test reveal the state of my heart. He just needs to correct my ways and take all that is not from Him out. And the most loving way He can do that is by His discipline. This test is to teach me to dear the Lord and that man does not live on bread alone, but that real life can only come from God and trusting His word. A generation perished in the wilderness because they were not confident in their Lord. They saw wonders and miracles, God's presence revealed, they heard His voice at the foot of the mountain and yet, they did not trust Him. They failed the test and their punishment was to never see the promised land. But it served as a loving act of discipline for the Joshua generation, those who went in and conquered.
You see, the wilderness is the testing ground for life in the promised land. If you don't learn the lesson of depending on the Lord, and fully trusting His voice in obedience now, the danger of pride in the land of plenty is inevitable. And pride comes from forgetting the wilderness and failing to apply its lessons in the good land. Thus, the wilderness is ultimately for our good. Let's learn to praise the Lord in this season. Let's learn to fully obey amidst the test, the rebuke and the discipline. Let us not forget He loves us and delights in us. He never abandoned Israel in the wilderness and He won't abandon us. He won't let us perish as long as we keep following where He leads. Let Him strip you of all that does not belong; let Him take out the root of pride. He is shaping you beloved. Malachi 3 tells us that He sits as a refiner, purifying us. It will hurt to be in the furnace, but you will come out pure... holy. His fire will not destroy you. You won't longer see your reflection in a dirty mirror. You will see yourself reflected in His likeness.
And you'll pass the test and enter the promised land. You will lack nothing. You will see His provision and the fulfilling of what He has promised you. And you will give credit to the One who deserves it all. Pride will not be your companion. You will live in obedience for you will be a testimony of His grace. You will remember the wilderness and speak of His wonders and everything You have saw Him do. His name will be glorified in the promised land because it was first glorified in the wilderness.