The Personal Wilderness 

“(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” – Numbers‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭

Did you know that scripture records Moses as being the meekest man on earth, but he didn’t start out that way. In fact one of his first actions after stepping into the knowledge of his call was to kill a man in anger. He defended the beaten Israelite by striking down the Egyption that beat him, causing Moses to have to flee into a personal wilderness. In this personal wilderness Moses found his wife and spent 40 years tending his father in laws sheep while his self and pride was stripped away and he learned to be a humble selfless obedient servant of God.

Only once Moses himself had learned these lessons in his personal wilderness season, was he then qualified and commissioned by God to lead others through their’s, where they would have to learn the same lessons.

The Israelite’s spent 40 years in the wilderness learning the necessity of laying down self will for obedience to the will and wisdom of God, but Moses had to do it twice. Once for Himself to learn and then again to lead others in the learning of it. At times on this journey the Israelites would come to challenge Moses or the decisions that God had led him to make. They often proclaimed that they were just as holy as he or just as qualified to lead because they were all in this wilderness together, but what they failed to realize was that this was not Moses’s first wilderness, however it was there’s. Furthermore, they didn’t see the reality that Moses (having already gone through his own wilderness) did not have to be in this wilderness with them but was there in humble sacrificial obedience only to help lead them through their’s. In this did Moses have to endure two wildernesses while they only had to endure one.

This is a very real reason why scripture tells us not to envy spiritual leaders, teachers, and ministers. They can’t teach what they haven’t experienced for themselves, therefore must they endure great personal wildernesses that most don’t see in order to learn the lessons required to be able to lead others through their corporate wilderness that they do see. Not only are ministers held to a higher weight of accountability in eternity, but true called of God leaders also endure greater trial in this life for the sake of learning the deep lessons of God that they might transfer them to those that God entrust unto them. This wilderness college is God’s method of testing, training, and equipping those He desires to use. 

The wilderness is where you try everything your way and see how it doesn’t work, until you surrender to try it God’s way and see that it’s the only way that works. It’s where your independence is lost and dependence on God is gained. It’s where you learn to hear God’s voice, trust, and obey it. The first time Moses ever heard God speak was in his own personal wilderness, that by the time he had to lead others through their’s he was well versed in seeking, hearing, and obeying that he not act of his own will and lead them astray from God’s. 

Don’t try to get ahead of God and skip your wilderness or you’ll end up spiritually killing people instead of saving them. Before his personal wilderness Moses was rash, prideful, ambitious, arrogant, and he killed a man. After his wilderness he was the meekest man on earth and saved a nation. Don’t get ahead of God. Don’t forsake small beginnings. Don’t forsake the wilderness. 

“For who hath despised the day of small things? …” – Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭

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Wait On The Lord

“Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” – Psalms‬ ‭25:3-5‬ ‭

When seeking God for instructions on a situation, the last thing we ever want to hear is “wait”. Yet it is in the waiting that true faith is expressed. There are times when God instructs us to take certain actions and this can be very difficult as they usually stand in direct opposition to the actions that our flesh wants to take. However, I have found the hardest obedience has not been that which God has told us to do, but that which He has told us not to do, or to wait on doing.

Waiting when God says wait (which very few actually do) shows true faith. It demonstrates that you truly do trust God’s wisdom, foresight, power, ability, and faithfulness above your own. This is the hardest test for anyone to pass and those who do are always counted by God as faithful, trusted, and friends.

We see it as a defining character in faithful Abraham, who after receiving the promise, wavered not in unbelief but waited 25 years for His promise to be fulfilled, being fully persuaded through it all that what God had promised He was able to deliver in the perfect way, at the perfect time. For this did God count him faithful, trustworthy, and a friend.

We see it in Joseph who after receiving his promise in a dream waited faithfully for about 20 years (part of it in prison) before he saw the fulfillment of that promise. For this he is counted of God, faithful, trustworthy, and a friend.

We see it in Moses who faithfully waited laboring in the wilderness for 40 years to see a generation brought to the land they were promised. Never wavering in faith for what lied ahead even when all else did and rose against him for it. 

We see it in Noah who once being given the promise of salvation from a coming judgment, was faithful to hold on to that word and labor both building the ark and preaching righteousness to a world that did not want to hear it and only ridiculed him for it. Yet for about 100 years he was faithful to do this while he waited for God’s actions to validate his own because he was fully believed what God had spoken to him. 

We see this in Job who sat in pain, brokenness, and torment refusing to give up on the faithfulness of God. He fully chose to put and leave his trust in Him alone against all advise and logic. Even through unimaginably painful trials and testings while all around him mocked, ridiculed, and blamed him for all the wrong being done to him. Yet he still put his trust in God and waited on the redemption of the Lord. He trusted that God’s eyes were always on the righteous and in the end, he was vindicated and received far more in reward for his faithfulness then he had ever lost. 

Let’s face it, we see it in all the biblical patriarchs. This virtue of waiting in faith for God to fulfill His promises, enduring all manner of slander, malicious attacks, and persecution from both the enemy and all those around them. Yet it was their faithfulness to endure the waiting and choose to continue to trust God, no matter what, that set them apart from everyone else and gave them a special place in both God’s heart, and in history as He did indeed eventually reward their faithfulness greatly. When you prove your faithfulness to God, you can rest assured that He will prove His faithfulness to you. He will not leave you in shame, He will reveal, restore, fulfill, and so much more. So trust in the Lord, and wait for your reward. 

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” – Psalms‬ ‭27:13-14‬ ‭

God’s Working On You

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” – Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

Isn’t it encouraging to be reminded that God won’t give up on you? I think every true believer has those moments when they feel like they aren’t progressing as fast as they should. They know that God has a purpose and a plan for them but they just don’t understand it or their place in it yet. They want to, but there are things for the Holy Spirit to teach them first and there is a timing to it all as well. Yet we feel the disappointment of being both slow learners and impatient students so we think that God must feel the same way.

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” – Psalms‬ ‭103:13-14‬ ‭

The truth is that God is very long suffering toward all men, and His eager children most of all. He knows our hearts and our frailty, which is why He takes His time with us. He must work the ground of our hearts, He must plant the seeds of righteousness, He must pluck up the weeds planted by the enemy, He must prune, cultivate, and grow us, well before He can bring forth a harvest of good fruit in us. Yet one thing I know, He is a good husbandmen (vineyard keeper). He knows exactly how to get the workmanship of His hands to produce the best and the most abundant fruit possible. We need only to trust Him and patiently allow Him to do is good work in us. 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭

Even in the painful pruning seasons of our life when things are being cut away and it seems from all outward appearance like we are being viciously attacked, yet it has its purposes in causing us to bring forth more abundant fruit in the fruiting season.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭

We do have a part to play in not allowing the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches (materialism) (Mark 4:19), idols (1 John 5:21), willful sin (which causes you to give lordship of your vineyard over to an other master) (Hebrews 10:26-31, Romans 6:16), or a lack of time spent abiding connected to the root of David (which is prayer, worship, and communion with Jesus) (John 15:6, Romans 11:16-23) will cause you to wither producing either bad fruit or no fruit at all (which is just as bad) that you be cut down and cast into the fire. For who wants a vineyard full of useless trees? 

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” – John‬ ‭15:5-6‬ ‭

Yet as long as we have made Jesus the husbandmen of our vineyard, that is to say, the master of our lives and we keep Him as such, ever pursuing to obey Him, serve Him, love Him, and grow closer to Him, then we will. Even when we don’t feel like we are, we are. For we can rest assured that He who began a good work in us will continue until it be complete if we have but the faith to stand. In the meantime, simply have patience, seek Him, listen to Him, trust Him, abide in Him, and grow. So no matter how slow, frustrated, confused, downtrodden, unworthy, or unable you feel, know that God is still working on you and pursue. Don’t give up on Him and He won’t give up on you. Stay the course.

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-25‬ ‭

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭