ODJ: after the wilderness

April 11, 2014 

READ: Deuteronomy 8:1-10 

Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years (v.2). 

If you’ve ever experienced prolonged disappointment or pain, you know it can feel like you’re in the ‘wilderness’—a barren place where you never seem to reach the much anticipated ‘Promised Land’.

This imagery is drawn from ancient Israel’s own journey through the wilderness (Numbers 10-36), which Moses recaps in Deuteronomy 8. Through it we discover that there’s more to the wilderness than suffering.

“Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness,” Moses said, “testing you to prove your character” (v.2). The wilderness is a place of revelation where what’s in our hearts is revealed. Will your time of trial reveal trust in your heart, or disloyalty?

“For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister or swell” (v.4). The wilderness was a place of provision, where God provided the Jews with manna, quail, water and clothes that miraculously remained as good as new (Exodus 16:13-15; Deuteronomy 29:5; Nehemiah 9:21).

“Just as a parent disciplines a child,” Moses continued, “the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good” (Deuteronomy 8:5). In the wilderness He continued to identify the Israelites as His children (1:31). It’s there that our true identity is confirmed as well.

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land” (8:7). The wilderness had been a place of needed refining and preparation for the Jews. They were about to enter a new phase of life—a new mission.

If you’re in the wilderness now, remember that through it God will test and reveal your heart, provide for you, confirm your identity in Him and transition you to something new.

After the wilderness comes a new beginning. —Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan› 1 Kings 1:5-27

Reflect on Jesus’ trial in the wilderness in Matthew 3:16-4:17. How have you also been tested in the wilderness? 
What have you learned through previous wilderness moments? How might God use you to serve others through your trials?