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Wilderness Wisdom (3 of 4)

Mike Connell

Page 3 of 10
Okay, now let's have a look at a great transition. We're in Exodus, Chapter 15. See, you all know what I'm talking about here? Okay, good. I notice everyone getting a bit quiet. Okay, well let's go now, have a look and lighten up a bit, and go there to the place in Exodus, Chapter 16. We were looking in Exodus 15. They had trouble because - here it is - and I want you to have a look at it. See, from the people's point of view, they were in bondage in Egypt and they got saved. Hurray, we're saved! Then suddenly, the enemy's behind them, mountains on either side, water in front - oh no, we're trapped. Hurray, we're saved! You think God was caught by surprise by the water and everything? He had a plan to get them through it. Then they get in the desert, they sing and they dance, and they have tambourines. Then they go three days, there's no water - boo, it's not going well. Then what happens is, the water they get is bitter - oh no - and so they start to murmur and complain.

But you know right beyond that, was a huge well. There were wells of Elim, there were wells and palm trees, there was huge provision. So from the point of view of Israel, they just had to journey it one experience at a time, and had to decide how they would respond to each experience. But from God's point of view, God saw from the beginning to the end. He said: hey look, I've got a whole place here full of water, full of palm trees, a lovely, cosy place. Yeah, yeah, I know there's a couple of tough spots on the way. There's one over there, no water for three days. And look here, there's some tough spots too. There's some bitter water, but I've got the answer. I know what to do. Don't worry, just trust Me. I can get you there. So from God's perspective, He's just got blessing in mind. From the perspective of those journeying, it doesn't look good. It actually looks bad - three days, no water, it's real bad. Then its bitter water, and we can't drink it. That's really bad - so how will we respond? That's the only thing you have power of choice over: how you will respond when you face difficulties in transition times. That's what you have power over.

You don't have power over the situation; you have power over how you will respond to the situation. You have power how you'll respond to God in this situation. You can choose whether God reveals Himself as your mighty healer, your mighty provider, your mighty source, and you walk out of that tough time, and you've got a testimony in miracles. Or you can choose whether you walk away bitter, critical, negative, and reinforced in your thinking. You choose. No one chooses that for you. You have to make that choice. So the thing about it here is, that Israel's in transition, and they're in transition from where God is providing everything for them. They're actually in a welfare mentality, a victim or slave mentality, into a warfare mentality, where they actually have to arise and fight and possess the land. So God's got all this land of promises ahead for them, and He says: but I've got to get you to change your mentality, because you're going to need a mentality of faith! You're going to need a mentality of courage! You're going to need a mentality of perseverance, if you're going to get all I've got for you!

So how am I going to get that into them? Have an altar call? I don't think so. That's not how He gets it into them. He says: we're just going to allow a few tough spots on the way, and then we're going to give you a chance to see what's in your heart, so you can then respond and grow. So here it is, Exodus 16, let's read what happened. So they journeyed from Elim, and Elim was a cosy place; 70 palm trees, 12 wells of water the Bible says, a great place, plenty of provision, plenty of shelter. Everything's just nice. Then God says: you've got to move on. They went from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of sin. Sin means to be thorny, to be full of thorns. It's near Mount Sinai, which means a thorny place. When the Bible's talking about thorns, it's referring to the curse that came upon the earth as a result of the sin of man, that brought frustration. Remember He said" the earth will bring forth thorns and thistles, and you'll labour, but you won't get all that you're supposed to get from it, because the ground is cursed. So you'll be frustrated, you'll work hard, you'll have disappointment and difficulty.