In The Wilderness
The Internet is such a wonderful opportunity for Christians because we
can worship the Lord in the privacy of our homes by choosing what sites
we wish to visit. There is no denomination, with its apostasy, that we
are tied to as when we "go to church" on a Sunday and if the Lord leads
us into the path of Truth we can follow that path or choose to ignore it.
I pray that the Lord has led you to this writing and that you shall be
enriched in your spiritual walk with Him.
These words are for those disciples who are familiar with meat strands
between their teeth.
The following passage of Scripture, from a man who was told to take a whore
to wife as an example to Israel and was obedient, was read yesterday, just
another one of those describing the falling away of Israel (the church)
and how God would renew them in the latter days; and it was purposed by
this writer to read on, until the Holy Spirit gave the nudge which resulted
in this writing.
All glory to the Living God.
Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. Plead with
your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I
her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight,
and her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked, and
set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness,
and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. And I will not have
mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.
For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done
shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me
my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink. Therefore,
behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she
shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she
shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them:
then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then
was it better with me than now. For she did not know that I gave
her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which
they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn
in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover
my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness. And now will I
discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver
her out of mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast
days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. And I
will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These
are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them
a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. And I will visit
upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she
decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her
lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will allure
her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor
for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth,
and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall
be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and
shalt call me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out
of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And in
that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field,
and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the
ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the
earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto
me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in
judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee
unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. And it shall come
to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens,
and they shall hear the earth; And the earth shall hear the corn, and the
wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto
me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy;
and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art
my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
Here's the punch line:
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from
thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing
there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up
out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD,
that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. For
I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no
more be remembered by their name. And in that day will I make a covenant
for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and
with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow
and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie
down safely. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth
thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness,
and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou
shalt know the LORD.
This passage is a pearl of great price that God has set before us, the
secret that passes by for most professing Christians.
It is this: we each need a period of time in the wilderness, there to search
for the hidden treasure of God's presence and when we find Him, to hang
on to Him at all costs, enduring to the end. A time to be alone with God
so that He can refine us as fine gold and shape us to His purpose as a
potter moulds the clay.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure
hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy
thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again,
the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that
he had, and bought it.
This is the writing which triggered the start of this article:
A strange place to find vineyards - in the wilderness! And can it be
that the riches which a soul needs can be obtained in the wilderness, which
stands for a lonely place, out of which you can seldom find your way? It
would seem so, and not only that, but the "Valley of Achor," which means
bitterness, is called a door of hope. And she shall sing there, as in
the days of her youth!
Yes, God knows our need of the wilderness experience. He knows where
and how to bring out that which is enduring. The soul has been idolatrous,
rebellious; has forgotten God, and with a perfect self-will has said, "I
will follow after my lovers." But she did not overtake them. And, when
she was hopeless and forsaken, God said, "I will allure her, and bring
her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her." What a loving God
Many of the great men of God needed to be sent into the wilderness to be
purified, to learn to hear God's voice and be trained in His way so that
they could serve Him the way He had planned for them.
Here are some examples:
John the Baptist
And even our Lord, in the days of His flesh and blood, was in the desert
for forty days, being prepared for His public ministry.
Each one was purified by the experience and was able to serve God better.
They were the ones that received five talents.
The experience for you my friend need not be so extreme, but as we see
from the above, you shall be strengthened by it and the Lord shall be able
to use you in a powerful spiritual way.
Spiritual blessings come through the will to search for them; and obedience.
A famous evangelist once wrote:
THE NECESSITY OF WAITING ON THE SPIRIT
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon
you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power
from on high.
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they
should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the
promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye
have heard of me.
These waiting days were necessary to enable the disciples to realise
their need, their nothingness, their failure and their dependence upon
the Master. They had to get emptied first, before they could get filled.
Oh, how often they must have thought, as those days went by, of the positions
they were now to occupy, the responsibility that was resting upon them,
the charge that the Master had committed to them, and their utter inability
for it all! How they must have recalled their folly, their unbelief, their
strife, their selfishness, their fears, their defeats, and shrunk back
into nothingness, and even stood aghast at the prospect before them, until
in the very dust they cried to Him for help and strength needed. And so
God wants us to go apart and quietly wait upon Him, until He searches into
the depths of our being, and shows us our folly, our failures, our need.
There is no wiser nor better thing to do on the eve of a season of blessing
than to make an inventory, not of our riches, but of our poverty; to count
up all the voids and vacuums and places of insufficiency; to make the valley
full of ditches, and then to bring to God the depths of our need for Him
to fill. And it takes time to make this work thorough. It takes time to
burn it into our consciousness. It takes time to make us feel it. It is
one thing to know in a general way our need and failure; it is quite another
thing to realise it, to mourn over it, to be distressed about it, and to
be filled with sorrow and shame and that holy zeal and revenge upon ourselves
which the apostle tells us is part of true repentance.
In the golden stairway of the Beatitudes, the first promise is to those
that are poor in spirit; but there is another step still deeper down on
the way to God, and that is "Blessed are they that mourn." It is needful
that we shall mourn over our poverty, that we shall realise our need, that
we shall be deeply troubled over our spiritual wretchedness, and that we
shall come with such hunger that nothing less than all the fullness of
Christ can ever satisfy us again. There are some Spiritual conditions that
cannot be accomplished in a moment. The breaking up of the fallow ground
takes time; the frosts of winter are as necessary as the rains of spring
to prepare the soil for fertility. God had to break our hearts to pieces
by the slow process of His discipline, and grind every particle to powder,
and then to mellow us and saturate us with His blessed Spirit, until we
are open for the blessing He had to give us. Oh, let us wait upon the Lord
with brokenness of heart, with openness of soul, with willingness of spirit,
to hear what God the Lord will say! These days of waiting are important
also that we may listen to God's voice. We are so busy that we cannot hear.
We talk so much that we give Him no chance to talk to us. He wants us to
hearken to what He has to say to us. He wants us on our faces before Him,
that He may give us His thought, His prayer, His longing, and then lead
us into His better will.
Someone else wrote:
Week after week, with unfaltering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched
that dwindling brook; often tempted to stagger through unbelief, but refusing
to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God. Unbelief sees
God through circumstances, as we sometimes see the sun shorn of his rays
through smoky air; but faith puts God between itself and circumstances;
and looks at them through Him. And so the dwindling brook became a silver
thread; and the silver thread stood presently in pools at the foot of the
largest boulders; and the pools shrank. The birds fled; the wild creatures
of field and forest came no more to drink; the brook was dry. Only then
to his patient and unwavering spirit, "the word of the Lord came, saying,
Arise, get thee to Zarephath."
Most of us would have gotten anxious and worn with planning long before
that. We should have ceased our songs as soon as the streamlet carolled
less musically over its rocky bed; and with harps swinging on the willows,
we should have paced to and fro upon the withering grass, lost in pensive
thought. And probably, long ere the brook was dry, we should have devised
some plan, and asking God's blessing on it, would have started off elsewhere.
God often does extricate us, because His mercy endureth forever; but
if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His plans, we should
never have found ourselves landed in such an inextricable labyrinth; and
we should never have been compelled to retrace our steps with so many tears
of shame. Wait, patiently wait!
At this time it would perhaps be a good idea to read once again the article
entitled "When Christ is Preached."
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give
knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high
hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in
the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child
grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of
his shewing unto Israel.
There is another wilderness, one for the believer who has gone through
the previous one successfully, someone who was planted in ďgood groundĒ,
but where God seemingly has withdrawn from us. It might be a period of
spiritual dryness, or a time of suffering or mourning, where it is difficult
even to pray. This wilderness is more frightening than others because we
seem to be so alone.
However, we still receive evidence of Godís presence in our lives by His
This is also a period of testing, of spiritual long distance running; will
we endure to the end?
The words patience, patient and patiently occur some forty five times in
the New Covenant, once in the Old and twice in the Psalms.
Very often itís associated with tribulation and enduring.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch
that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Why is this pruning necessary?
I believe one reason is that the saints shall have resurrected, unchanging,
Spiritually powered bodies for a thousand years while judging the world.
This is a long time. How long did they hold out while in their worldly
Our Lord, who died that we might live, is the greatest human example of
patience and enduring that there is.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto
Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that
was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down
at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such
contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint
in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children,
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou
art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth
every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with
you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But
if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards,
and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected
us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather
be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily
for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for
our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now
no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless
afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which
are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and
the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which
is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace
with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain
from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation
honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers,
they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God
in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for
the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors,
as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and
for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with
well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free,
and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as
the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear
God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters
with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure
grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be
buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do
well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable
with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered
for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did
no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself
to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his
own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:
by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but
are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
(1 Peter 2:11-25)
If we read the book of Ezekiel we shall notice that God didnít speak to
him every day, but when He did speak, Ezekiel was ready.
Let it be so with us.
So, when the road gets rough or dim or narrow, maybe we have to slow down
and wait on God, but letís keep going.
This wilderness is different from the other in that we must pull ourselves
out of it, like getting on our knees on a daily basis even though there
is no evidence of Godís presence while we do so.
Someone once wrote:
Beloved, Abrahamís conduct condemns a hasty spirit, reproves a murmuring
one, commends a patient one and encourages quiet submission to Godís will
and way. Remember, Abraham was tried; he patiently waited; he received
the promise, and was satisfied. Imitate his example and you will share
the same blessing.
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.