WILDERNESS IS SOMETHING YOU PASS THRU NOT LIVE IN
(An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to fix it.)
Joel 2:13 (NIV) – Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Pastor George Lehman
Psalm 68:3 – 6 (NIV) – 3But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. 4Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him-his name is the Lord. 5A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
This is a very serious portion of scripture, not to be taken lightly.
I mean: Do you really believe that – “That it’s only the rebellious who live (dwell) in a sun-scorched land”– (Dry land – desert or a wilderness)
Who and what are the REBELLIOUS this passage speaks about: -
The Hebrew word used is:- MÂRÂH – Bitter – unpleasant – to rebel or resist – provoke (annoy or irritate or tempt others) – change – disobedient – disobey – murmuring (complaining, never satisfied) – grumbling.
- Hebrews 3 and 4 clearly spells out Israel’s process of rebellion.
The warning is for us today:
Hebrew 4:11 – Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
- God’s original purpose with Israel was for them to pass through the wilderness in about 40 days-
But it ended up taking them 14 600 days to get the rebellion out of them.
40 years x 365 days = 14 600 days
- It was meant to be a journey with a purpose, to establish a clear vision in
their hearts –It was never meant to be shuffle around a mountain.
- Israel’s process of rebellion in Hebrew 3 and 4.
- They hardened their hearts – (i.e. they resisted God’s word and purpose.
Hardened means:- Stubborn (Stubborn:- Firmly continuing in one’s
action or opinion despite persuasion.)
B They went astray in their hearts – i.e. rebelled
C This developed into an evil heart of unbelief – changed, bitter,
1 John 2:3 – 6 (NIV)- 3We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
D They became disobedient.
E They finally got into full blown rebellion.
- We must understand something here. God never, ever, calls His people to
live/ dwell in a wilderness.
- God may from time to time call us to pass thru a wilderness, but God never
calls us to live there.
- I believe God’s perfect time frame for passing thru a wilderness experience
in 40 days.
(A) If God takes you thru a wilderness, it has purpose and plan to it.
He is taking you out of something in order to take you into something.
He is teaching you to trust him. To show you His glory and for you to
know Him in a deeper more intimate way. People come and tell me: -
“God has had me in the wilderness for 5 years already.” – Rubbish
(B) A wilderness is not something you live in; it’s something you pass through.
Psalm 68:6B - Only the rebellious dwell in the wilderness.
- Did Jesus dwell in the wilderness? “No, He didn’t” He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness on a 40 day journey with a purpose.
Luke 4 – “Oh boy what a purpose” Verse 18 – 19 (NIV)- 18”The Spirit of the
Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the
poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of
sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19to proclaim the year of the
- Can I just say this: - If you have been in a wilderness or desert experience and it’s lasted far longer than 40 days, IT’S NOT GOD. He’s not the author of your wilderness.
You see I know this is true, by personal experience – and by Ministry
experience with many people.
- (A) If you have been experiencing the wilderness, and dryness, for any
length of time, check to see if there’s any offence; bitterness;
unforgiveness; disobedience; murmuring; grumbling; rebellion in your
(B) The problem with living in a dry place is that the longer you live there,
the worse it gets.
You will just become more bitter and twisted, you become even more critical and rebellious with each passing day
James 3:13 – 17 (NIV)- 13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Here is a further warning to the rebellious – If you are living in a dry place. There’s a big difference between; being taken thru something and living in it.
1st Warning is: -
God’s wonderful promise to you is: - That’s it’s only the rebellious who dwell (live) there. Psalm 68:6B – But the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
2nd Warning is: -
Proverbs 17:11 – An evil man seeks only rebellion: therefore a stern (it’s a cruel angelic being in other words a demon) and pitiless messenger shall be sent against him.
It say’s when you’re in rebellion, a cruel messenger shall be sent against you. (That is a cruel angelic being, a demon)
Here’s the wonderful promise from God: - That if you stay in rebellion long enough, you get a free demon.
You just have to study God’s word to see how He feels about rebellion. Look at Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NIV) – 18If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him. 19his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid
You may think “wow” this is a bit extreme – God knows what and how destructive rebellion can be to a family and a church and to your life
- 1 Samuel 15:23 (LB)– For rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols. Saul lost his throne.
- Korah and 250 of his members were wiped out by God.
Numbers 16:1 – 35
- Then many more rebelled because of the Korah killings.
Numbers 16:41 – 49. 14 700 people died (wiped out)
- In II Samuel 15:1 – 37 Absolom – rebels against David the King, the result is 20 000 members die. Absolom gets caught up in a tree and is pierced with spears and killed.
(Galatians 6:7 what a man sow that he will reap.)
Making life decisions in the wilderness while angry, bitter, offended, in sin being a rebel, out of submission – being stubborn, always brings bad results.
Don’t blame others - others are not going to answer for you one day as to why you allowed yourself to become rebellious.
- Be willing to change and be humble (a servant) and submit.
- Real repentance is necessary.
- Restore any broken fellowship, be willing to forgive and forget.
Just remember: - God can restore more than you can even imagine.
Isaiah 43: 18 - Forget the former things do not dwell on the past.
: 19 - I am making a way in the desert and streams in the
(1) There will always be a restoration period – the time of that period is
determined by: How far you rebelliously wandered into the wilderness /
(2) Change will be a practical thing you do its not received by me praying for you. People think it’s the easy way out.
Our choices once made has power over us: - So weigh up the consequences of your choices.
II Corinthians 7:1 (NIV) – Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God