The wilderness produces fruit, some call it the valley, some call it the dry place, but God’s Word indicates it a place or preparing for something greater!
While the old path leads back to the world, the new path leads into the wilderness, a place where change is sure to occur. In the wilderness, everything we know about God and ourselves will be redefined. Everything we thought true will be revealed for what it is. Nothing held sacred in the old life will survive in the wilderness.
This was true of Israel when set free from slavery (Exodus). Before entering the Promised Land, they had to endure the wilderness, the test of faith. It took them 40 years to get their old way of thinking out of them so that they can enter into the promised land.
Many think that when they go through the wilderness they did something wrong, they are out of God’s will, or God is punishing them. Although it may feel that way at times nothing is further from the truth.
Mark 1:9-11(HCSB)9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!
God was well please with His son He took delight in Him and then…
Mark 1:12-13(HCSB)12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels began to serve Him.
When you are going through the wilderness remember God is well pleased with you and the Holy Spirit will guide you through the process.
When you’re in the wilderness you will be tempted. 1 John 2:16(HCSB)16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world.
The lust of the flesh, the pride of life and the lust of the eyes. Jesus’ temptations follow three patterns that are common to all men. The first temptation concerns the lust of the flesh.
Matthew 4:1-4(HCSB)Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Our Lord is hungry, and the devil tempts Him to convert stones into bread, but He replies with Scripture, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3(HCSB)3 He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
The second temptation concerns the pride of life Matthew 4:5-7(HCSB)5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” 7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”)
and look at this here the devil uses a verse of Scripture Psalm 91:11–12(HCSB)For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. 12 They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
but the Lord replies again with Scripture to the contrary, stating that it is wrong for Him to abuse His own powers. Deuteronomy 6:16(HCSB)16 Do not test the Lord your God as you tested Him at Massah.
The third temptation concerns the lust of the eyes Matthew 4:8-10(HCSB)8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”, and if any quick route to the Messiahship could be attained, bypassing the passion and crucifixion for which He had originally come, this was the way. The devil already had control over the kingdoms of the world but was now ready to give everything to Christ in return for His allegiance. Ephesians 2:1-2(HCSB)And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. But the mere thought almost causes the Lord’s divine nature to shudder at such a concept and He replies sharply, Deuteronomy 6:13(HCSB)13 Fear Yahweh your God, worship Him, and take your oaths in His name.
There are many temptations that we sadly fall into because our flesh is naturally weak, but we have a God who will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear; He will provide a way out 1 Corinthians 10:13(HCSB)13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it..
We can therefore be victorious and then will thank the Lord for deliverance from temptation. Jesus’ experience in the desert helps us to see these common temptations that keep us from serving God effectively. Furthermore, we learn from Jesus’ response to the temptations exactly how we are to respond—with Scripture. The forces of evil come to us with a bunch of temptations, but all have the same three things at their core: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We can only recognize and combat these temptations by saturating our hearts and minds with the Truth.
The wilderness will bring you to a place that you couldn’t have gotten to under your own strength.
Matthew 4:11(HCSB)11 Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.
In a “wilderness experience,” a believer may struggle simply to survive from day to day. Financial, material, physical, or emotional burdens may press on him. The flesh cries out for relief. The believer is forced to wait on the Lord, find God’s peace and joy in the midst of trouble, and through it all mature in his walk with Christ.The wilderness is an unpleasant place, fleshly speaking. We naturally want prosperity, health, and easy going. But the same God who created the garden also created the wilderness. There will be times of trial and pressure. Our faith will be tested. But the God of grace will meet us even in the wilderness.
John the Baptist spent time in the wilderness to detach himself from the world. For John, it was a serious commitment. It was the only place he could be. But more importantly, his time and purpose in the wilderness was to prepare the way of the Lord. John preached repentance to show the need for change that is part of the wilderness experience.
Mark 1:4-8 (HCSB)4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He was preaching: “Someone more powerful than I will come after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Between Malachi and Matthew you’ve got Four hundred years of blackness without any prophetic light.Four hundred years of stillness without any prophetic voice. And then suddenly, dramatically, unexpectedly this strange man, John the Baptist, came streaking across a sky that was totally black. The Word says he was a “burning and a shining light.” Jesus, the greatest character in history, says, “There was no man comparable to John Baptist.” Not Isaiah not Jeremiah not any of those towering saints. He is a very, very remarkable character.
John the Baptist appears in the wilderness. It was not only
a wilderness geographically,
it was a wilderness morally,
it was a wilderness politically,
it was a wilderness religiously.
John Baptist steps on the stage. A remarkable character.
You see, today we try to organize. We try to get a bunch of people together. God never did that. God takes individual men. He takes Moses to the backside of the desert. John the Baptist was in the wilderness until the day of his showing.
Jesus, the Son of God who had left the Glory, spent thirty years in training
John Baptist thirty years in training.
The apostle Paul at least thirty years.
Moses at least forty years;
and we want to go to Bible School six months and come out like a super prophet! Its the time factor that kills most of us. Tell me how much time you spend alone with God and I will tell you how spiritual you are.
Not how many services or meetings you go to.
Not how much “christianese” you can speak.
Not how many scriptures you share on Facebook.
Not how many sermons you preach.
Not how many salvation notches you’ve made.
Tell me what time you spend alone with God, and I will tell you how spiritual you are.
Mark 1:14-15(HCSB)14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”
You can be a light in the wilderness, you can still preach a message of repentance even though you are in the wilderness by your thoughts, actions, Words, and work. Your life in the wilderness must bring honor to the Lord!
John’s ministry is described as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” To all who would listen, his thundering words reiterated one simple message: “Repent!” Matthew 3:2(HCSB)In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” 3 For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!
The Greek word for repent entails more than mere sorrow or regret. It means “to change the mind and will”. Repentance does not refer to just any change, but to a change from sin to righteousness. It involves sorrow over sin, but goes beyond that to produce both changed thinking and the desire for a changed life 2 Corinthians 7:10(HCSB)10 For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death. John declared that if the people would turn from their rebellious pride and embrace a life of wholehearted obedience, they would be ready for the Messiah.
Guys what was Jesus’ first message He preached after the wilderness??
Mark 1:14(HCSB) After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”
He took after His cousin John, and preached repentance, because the life of the believer is that of Repentance.
Martin Luther wrote “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.”
All of the Christian life is repentance. Turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners aren’t merely a one-time inaugural experience but the daily substance of Christianity. The gospel is for every day and every moment. Repentance is to be the Christian’s continual posture.