Wilderness Experiences Reveal the Heart

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”  Exodus 14:10-12

As I have been reading through Exodus, I have been thinking about the church today. I have found through my wilderness experiences where I really stood in the midst of the trial.  My heart and attitude towards God becomes very apparent.  I have found myself in doubt and unbelief, in murmuring and complaining and just plain unthankfulness.  For those who go through trials and just are happy campers, I truly admire you and would simply like to smack you because you have arrived, but for those who are lacking I know that God can change the attitude to one of appreciation, thankfulness and trust.  God wants to deliver us from those old mindsets that came in through life experiences that we are so familiar with.  He wants us to trust in him despite what we see.

I thought about Moses in Exodus.  Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.  They saw the mighty wonders and signs of God.  They were told in advance what would happen and experienced that God was faithful and would honor his word. Even though they left Egypt, they had Egypt still in them.  When they were in the wilderness, God tested their hearts.  First, he led them out towards the promise land through the wilderness.  He hardened Pharaoh’s heart to chase them in the wilderness.  During this time, they were led by a fire by night and cloud by day.  God was with them.  Yet when Pharaoh began to pursue them, they began to complain why did God take them out of Egypt if he was going to let Pharaoh and his army kill them in the wilderness.  God just performed 10 plagues, gave them all the riches of the Egyptians and demonstrated he was with them by being a fire by night and cloud by day.  Like really? Now they were backed up against the Red Sea.  Moses is like God you brought us here what do we do. They are all whining at me.  And God told him to take his staff and the Red Sea parted.  They began to walk through the Red Sea with walls of water on both sides of them. This is a wow moment. God’s plan was to use this opportunity to make himself known to those in the land that they were going to.  Their enemies would later find out that the God of Israelites destroyed the Egyptians when they went through the Red Sea so that they would fear the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac.   He drowned all of the Egyptians as he closed the Red Sea.   He saved his people so that they could now move forward to take over the promise land.  They continued in the desert and came upon bitter waters, then needed food and they again complained and murmured about God bringing them out from Egypt and now they were going to die again.  Why would God do this to them?  They were even thinking that they were better off in Egypt where they had food and water.  They forgot they were enslaved to Pharaoh and deeply oppressed by him. They had that victim mindset.  They really didn’t know or understand who their God is.

Eternal life is to know God and his son Jesus.  Trials, adversities and wilderness experiences show us the attitude of our hearts.  God is desiring to purify our hearts.  Why is that important, because those who have pure hearts see God.  How can you really know God if you really don’t understand the evil thoughts and wickedness that lies within your heart?  By faith we know that we have a new heart, old things have passed away, all things are new. But sometimes our life, attitude and heart don’t reflect or truly know God. Sometimes we too are like the Israelites, knowing that our experience in Egypt was oppressing, but the unknown fear causes us to be ones who complain and blame God when things go wrong or not working out according to our plans.  The good news is that God uses all things for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.  He too, like he did for me changed my mindset.  For years when things went wrong, I used to listen to the lies of the enemy blaming God.  I would say, God why did you allow this to happen to me.  Why is this going on?  It’s not fair.  The enemy comes to lie, steal and kill and his desire is to destroy you having an intimate relationship with God.  He knows that murmuring and complaining is opposite of faith.  God doesn’t like it when we murmur and complain.  He knows it keeps us from entering into the promise land, which today by faith is entering into his rest.  He knows the more we trust God despite our circumstances, the more faith arises in our hearts.  The more thankfulness we have as we see his goodness makes the enemy flee.  The more we praise him for all that he is, the mountain gets small and disappears.

Remember what it says in James 1:2-3 “My brethen, 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.”  Praying that your heart will be transformed to walk in the freedom God so desires for you to have.  Blessings!


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