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Wilderness Wisdom (1 of 4)

Mike Connell

Moses had 40 years in the back side of a desert, Israel did 40 years in the wilderness, David had a season in the wilderness, Goliath faced the nation for 40 days and 40 nights. Elijah, why does Elijah suddenly turn out, and turn the nation upside down? Where was he before that? In a wilderness, in an experience that was preparing him. John the Baptist, where was John the Baptist found? He wasn't found in a church. He was found in a wilderness, and the Bible says: the word of the Lord came to him in the wilderness. Everyone else had titles and positions; he got God's word speak into him - a big difference. You can have whatever position you like, whatever title you like. It matters toot in the kingdom of heaven really. What counts is, whether you're hearing from God, and flowing with what God wants you to do. So anyway, God has a system of testing. It's helpful to know what that system is. It's called the wilderness.

Now have a look at it in Deuteronomy Chapter 8, and I'll give you just a few simple lessons out of it. It's always, always a place of preparation, and always God has something in mind for you, so let's have a read in here. We're going to look at it here, Israel, then we'll look at it quickly with Jesus, then I want to show you how to certainly flunk the wilderness, keys to flunking. I've learnt the keys because I've done many of them you know, at one point or another - but then God doesn't leave you down there. He lifts you up, and then you can learn how to succeed, so I'll give you some keys to succeed too. Here it is in Deuteronomy, Chapter 8. And you shall remember - Verse 2 - the Lord your God led you this way, these 40 years in the wilderness. Notice that word 'led' you. God led you in the wilderness - to humble you, prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, fed you with manna - allowed you to hunger! What kind of God is that? Oh my - fed you with manna that you didn't know, or your fathers didn't know, that He might make you know, that man shall not live by bread alone; but man shall live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Verse 16: He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers didn't know or hadn't experienced, that He might humble you and test you - now notice this - to do you good in the end. God's got a plan for good. So let me give you just a few simple things about the wilderness that may help. You notice the first thing is, God led them there. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, so God leads people into a wilderness. There are experiences you have in life; it's not the devil, and it's not because you've stuffed up or messed up in a big way. It's God's leading you into a difficult season, that's all. Oh why would God want to do a terrible thing like that? I just want it all to be sugar and nice and spice. Don't talk to me about crosses and things like that - I want blessing! I want anointing! Oh come on, get a life, get real. See, the anointing comes after the cross. Cross gets you to heaven. Cross is a way of life. Cross is always a part of this deal, so the first thing to realise is, God leads you into the wilderness. It's God's idea.

It's God's idea to get you into a wilderness time, so - a wilderness time. A wilderness experience is for preparation, not destination. A wilderness experience is preparation, not destination, so whatever experience you may be going through now, that you might like to call a wilderness, believe me it is preparation, not destination. It's a place God wants you to move through, not stay there. Don't stay there, and definitely, don't die there. [Laughter] Definitely don't die there! It's just a preparation for the destination God has for your life, and God has to prepare us. See, it's like children growing. You'd love to give them lots of things, they have to be prepared. So the wilderness is a place of humbling. The wilderness is a place of humbling. The Bible tells us to humble ourself, but not many of us want to do that really, and so God allows us a few experiences that bring a great humbling in our life. You may have been led into such an experience. You didn't want to go there, you just were following Jesus, and next thing you find, there you are, you're in a wilderness, and it's incredibly humbling.