This morning in my Bible reading I read Luke 5:16 which says, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” It caught my attention because yesterday I saw how that the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness – today Jesus withdrew Himself to pray there. I started thinking about “wilderness” and as I mentioned yesterday – I thought of a barren place, a lonely place, a sad place.
Today, I saw it differently – I saw it as a place of refreshing – a place to get alone with God…and it didn’t sound so bad; after all when I get alone with God and know that I have been in His presence I am strengthened and refreshed; I have joy and peace. (play on words intentional = p's in the wilderness:).
I looked up the word wilderness in the Bible and saw that it is there 294 times! The wilderness is by definition a barren dessert – but it is also a place suitable for pasturing sheep – aha…that’s why I found it for so many applications – “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3 The wilderness is place where God can shepherd us because when we think we have nowhere to go or no one to turn to…we finally turn to God and realize that He is all we need.
Here are some of the applications I found in the “wilderness.”
Punished in the wilderness – Numbers 14:33
Pit in the wilderness – Genesis 37:22 (Genesis 50:20)
Piloted in the wilderness –Nehemiah 9:19
Preaching in the wilderness – Matthew 3:1
Proven in the wilderness – Matthew 4:1, Luke 4
Praying in the wilderness – Luke 5:16
Pushed to the wilderness – Luke 8:29
Provision in the wilderness – Exodus 16:32
Protection in the wilderness – Deuteronomy 1:31
Place in the wilderness – Revelation 12:6
Perils in the wilderness – II Corinthians 11:26
Power in the wilderness – Psalm 106:9
Presence in the wilderness – Genesis 21:20, Exodus 16:10
“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him." Exodus 8:2-6
Today’s Song: My Lord Knows the Way through the Wilderness
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow
Strength for today is mine always
And all that I need for tomorrow.
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness
All I have to do is follow
The wilderness feels like a lonely and barren place; it is a place that looks like “nowhere...” hopeless. If that is where you are today – you may even be tempted to think there is no hope…but in every application, in every example there is hope because God is present in every situation – whether to punish, prove, or provide…He is all we need. If you are in the wilderness, you are in a suitable pasture for God to nurture you. Follow Him and He will lead you safely through!
Have a wonderful day!