Earlier this year I had to collect something from a warehouse. What may have appeared as quite a strict access-controlled area didn’t really have any control, except for gates opening by the pressing of buttons. There was a huge access gate at the entrance of the office park in which the warehouse is located… very oddly, the button at this boom-gate was marked by a button labelled with an “EXIT” sign.
Yes, things like this amuse me… No, I am not OCD, the fact that an EXIT button was placed at the ENTRY gate didn’t bother me in the least… rather the Holy Spirit inspired train of thought behind it; I mean, I am “Exiting” the main road, am I not? Or am I actually…? Uuuuuuuuhhhhhhhmmmmm… and my thoughts start juggling.
This week I read something that triggered this specific event of ENTERING, but actually EXITING… or is it EXITING, but actually ENTERING…
In Exodus 14 Israel EXITED Bondage (Egypt) with a promise, but did not ENTER the initial Promise straight away; however, a promise of “The Egyptians you have seen today you will never see again”, was fulfilled on that day at the Red Sea… but they were stuck between 2 waters for 40 YEARS… between 2 miracles… Between the Red Sea and the Jordan, in the desert. Not down playing that their survival for 40 years in the desert was not a miracle in itself.
This occupied my Spiritual time for most of the week, during my time of studying it I was led to Jesus, our Savior…
Jesus was Baptized in WATER (the Jordan to be exact 😲), the Heavens opened up and God said “This is my beloved Son in Who I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17) and in the very next verse He was led to the wilderness to be tempted (Matthew 4:1)… Jesus’ first recorded miracle (John 2:2-11), after His water baptism, was turning WATER into wine. Jesus was in between 2 events of water; in this in-between time, He was in the wilderness, fasting for 40 DAYS.
There is too many similarities in these events to ignore it and see it as a coincidence.
The Greek meaning of the word wilderness, Eremos, is also referred to as desert, a desolate area, uninhabited and uncultivated place… With a similar meaning in Hebrew used to described the desert (Midbar) Israel was wandering in.
The Wilderness, a desolate, uninhabited and uncultivated area…
What is your first thoughts when you hear the words desert or wilderness in spiritual terms?
⏱ Take a minute and think about it.
It make me think of a dry season, a season of pain, a season of being shaped, a season of pruning, a season of constant battles, “Ouch, when will it stop? But because God…” If you learn how Israel spent their 40 years in the desert… It was not easy, and don’t ever think that it was, no thought or imagination can even come close to what they’ve been through… And, Yes, “They didn’t want to listen so they had to feel, right?” Really? Do we serve a God of punishment? Most definitely not.
This same word as described for Jesus’ wilderness, Eremos, is used in the book of Revelations, twice in chapter 12. Reading this gave me another view of the wilderness. ‘The woman fled into the wilderness, a place prepared by God, so that she could be fed and nourished’ (Revelation 12:6); ‘And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and from the face of the serpent.’ (Revelation 12:14).
Now, revisit the meaning of this word “Wilderness”… desolate, uninhabited, uncultivated.
2 years ago, I started committedly seeking more and more of God, with full devotion… and how precious it is, with such great meaning to me, that I started my “Desert” in Saudi Arabia of all places, a land with majority being a desert, and the same land area Israel was wandering about for most of their 40 years, between the Red Sea and the Jordan river.
I think a pivotal area to start transformation from the Holy Spirit is in the mind… for the first few months the Holy Spirit shared depth with me on the renewing of the mind (I briefly shared some of this in a previous post; Silent Battles), and that is exactly where true transformation take place (Romans 12:1-2). But what does it really mean?
Intensely thinking about it the past week it became clear to me… it is the desolate, uninhabited, uncultivated areas of our thoughts and thought patterns. Removing the thought patterns of the natural realm we “live” in, and replacing it with God’s thoughts, which is an uncultivated and uninhabited area.
“My thoughts are higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9) – it is desolate, uninhabited, uncultivated…
“What the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard and the mind cannot comprehend is what God has instore for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9) – it is desolate, uninhabited, uncultivated…
“Set your minds on things above, the higher things… your new, real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-4) – it is desolate, uninhabited, uncultivated…
“And the Peace that transcends all understanding shall guard your heart” (Philippians 4:6-7) – Another unknown area for human understanding…
The desert, the wilderness is an “uncharted area”, an area where we get a better understanding of God, the deeper purpose… a place Ephesians 1:17-19 refers to “…with the Spirit of wisdom, revelation and insight to the great mysteries and secrets in the deep intimate knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your heart be flooded by light so that you can know and understand the hope He has called you to; the riches of His glorious inheritance, so that you can understand the immeasurable, unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for you.”
What may appear as a dark and lonely place, is in actual fact an area intended to draw you closer to God, understanding this will make it a safe haven, it may take years and years… for some it took 40 years, but the sooner we submit to it the sooner we’ll experience Him in His fullness.
The main battle we will have in the wilderness will be with ourselves and our own carnal desires. Israel had 3 battles (wars) in the desert (the first soon after the crossing of the Red Sea, and the other 2 short before their crossing of the Jordan), on all 3 occasions God gave them the victory even before they entered it with declarations of “Do not fear, I have given it to you, just take it.” They were untouchable and protected in the desert, even though tired and going into the last 2 wars with “untrained men”, making it clear God had their back.
They were hungry and thirsty in the desert; however, they were miraculously fed in the desert, just enough for a day to keep them humble and dependant; teaching them man do not live by bread alone.
He guided them at night, and provided shade during the day.
They were clothed with clothes that did not deteriorate
They were protected and free from the “Egypt” illnesses.
God taught them His statutes on how to get closer to Him.
The “Egypt” way was removed from them, they had the opportunity to get to recognize God in His fullness, outside of the so-called comfort they found in bondage. (Deuteronomy 8:1-5)
‘Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.’ (Matthew 4:1) The Son of the living God, Jesus being God himself, being led by the Spirit of God to be tempted… 🤔 Something just doesn’t sound obvious in this choice of words, unless…
The usage of the words “LED UP” (Anago) means “to bring into a higher place.”
So… “Jesus was brought into a higher place, into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” This was after the Father’s blessing of “My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased…”
The wilderness brings us to a higher place of understanding… it equips us with being content and satisfies to the point of not being disturbed, because we have the strength for all things through Christ who empowers us, it teaches us to be self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency. (Philippians 4:10-13)
At the cut-off point from the previous life, at the removal of the “Egyptians”, the life we “should” never seek nor ever see again, the waters close behind us as we are exiting the old self and preparing to enter the regenerated self, in His likeness (Ephesians 4:22-24). We enter a desolate area, an uninhabited and uncultivated place of being… an area of opportunity to experience God in all His glory and unlocking our true identity, found in Christ.
I am sitting, with great expectations, on the edge of my seat; embracing every bit of WORD He feeds me which nourishes my whole being, just enough for me to grasp, which keeps me captivated for more of Him, more of His glory, from glory to glory… I can sense it, I can smell it… the Jordan is just over the hill… Hallelujah… but while I am here, in the wilderness, I am safely guarded and I will sit in His presence and savor every second of His majesty.