The Purpose of the Wilderness

Deuteronomy 8:2
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

God tested the Israelites with hunger and thirst in the wilderness to see if they would complain and still obey him. Many people only want the blessings of God and not God Himself. In the wilderness, God tested them so that they would know what was in their own hearts.

Jeremiah 17:9 says ‘the heart is deceitful above all things’. We often deceive ourselves thinking we love God, we trust God, we obey God. But when God makes the circumstances difficult to test us, that’s when our true colours show. Whatever that lay dormant in our hearts comes out in full technicolour.

Bitterness, anger came out of the Israelites, showing what was in their hearts. Many times, testings bring out the worst and best in me, even surprising myself when I lash out in rage and frustration. God wants us to know ourselves and to repent.

The wilderness is a time for refinement through fire that we should come out as gold. Burning away the dross and impurities if we let Him. It’s painful but for our ultimate good – the Promised Land. God intended the Israelites to go through the Wilderness for two years but due to their disobedience, God had to keep teaching them the same lesson over and over  for forty years. God wants us to go through, but not remain in the WIlderness.

In this verse there is a gem. It says ‘the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years.’ God is leading us all the way in our hard times of the wilderness. He hasn’t left us for a single moment. He didn’t leave the Israelites for forty years but led them through the fierce desert. Can you still trust and obey Him?

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