“For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD—to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’”
Have you read the story about the Israelites who were rescued by God only to be made to walk in the wilderness for forty years? These people were supposed to take around eleven days to get to the promised land that God had prepared for them. So, what happened? In this article, I’m going to discuss why they took the long way and I also want to talk about our new website and name change.
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First, I’m going to talk about our website. My wife and I have been maintaining a site called abundantblogger since early 2018, but it didn’t start as a Christian site. I started writing in the personal development field. In time, I realized that the articles meant to help people had left out one critical element; God.
It’s God who helps people and no amount of personal development will ever gain you Salvation or true lasting inner peace. So, eventually, I switched to writing only Christian articles to glorify God and really provide people with information that would help them. But the website name felt tarnished to me. It was originally meant for something else. So, now, my wife and I have chosen a new name: escapethewilderness.com.
I’ve spent the last forty years wandering around in a wilderness going in no particular direction. Finally, I’ve made some changes and God’s been helping me escape this wilderness. So, I found the name to be fitting, not only for me, but also for many others who are lost in the wilderness.
Now, let’s discuss this wilderness!
The wilderness is Satan’s playground
To get right to the point, the Israelites got stuck circling the wilderness because of their attitudes and behavior. They disobeyed God on every front; they complained about everything; and, worst of all, they made and worshiped false idols. Everything they did went against God’s plan for them.
Moses was only supposed to lead them out of Egypt and into the land flowing with milk and honey. It was supposed to be a relatively short trip and the takeover of the land was already worked out by God. But the people lacked faith and weren’t in a mindset or spirit that God was willing to work with. So, He waited. Not only did God wait for two or three weeks; He waited forty years. All adults, except for Caleb and Joshua – the two spies who had confident faith in God, died before reaching the promised land.
Satan was deep among them and seemed to have a good grip on them. This is what the devil does – he works his way into your life and then starts messing with your thinking. Thoughts are powerful and they can make you do very big things if you let them. This is why Satan attacks your thoughts more than anything else. Sometimes he’ll attack your health, which also messes with your thoughts.
Either way, if you allow the devil to work in your mind and you don’t do anything to get rid of him, he’ll have you circling your own kind of wilderness for as long as it takes for God to get through to you. For some, He never gets through. They perish without ever seeing the Promised Land.
God can do anything and can use anyone, but He often would rather use someone to accomplish His work who has a right attitude and spirit about them. His goal is that all should live according to His plan for them. The wilderness is essentially a disciplinary consequence meant to straighten you out and get you back on the right track.
Quite often, when in a wilderness situation, we are weak and vulnerable. This is when Satan will be watching closely to come in to take us out. If you’re stuck in a situation that is dry and seems to have no escape, understand that there’s likely something God wants you to learn. God won’t allow His children to be punished or disciplined unjustly. If you’re experiencing Godly discipline, there must be a reason.
God wants to help you escape the wilderness
So, there are some things you can do to get yourself out of a wilderness situation. But every solution is going to start with humbly surrendering to God. Ultimately, repenting from sinful living and seeking fellowship with Jesus Christ will be the main step involved.
If you’re experiencing a wilderness situation, might I ask how your relationship is with Jesus? The main ways to build a healthy relationship with Christ involve resisting and denying your sinful nature and taking on His Holy nature. When it’s less of you and more of Him, you’ll grow in the right direction. Spending time reading the bible and praying to God will bring you into closer fellowship with God and out of fellowship with the devil.
I realize that most people will say that they don’t fellowship with the devil, but it’s important to understand that if you aren’t following Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and spirit, then your loyalty is divided and you’re following the spirit of Satan.
God wants all of you. He wants the best for you, too. This means, whatever promised land flowing with milk and honey He has designated for you, He wants you to have it. However, He won’t reward poor behavior or poor stewardship.
Can you think of any sins in your life that you need to give up and turn away from? Is there any rebellion, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, idolatry, complaining, or even pride in your heart? Any of these will keep you in a wilderness environment and away from God’s best for you. God won’t give away what He has planned for you. He will wait patiently for you to deal with any sin issues first; hopefully it doesn’t take forty or more years, right?
Examine yourself and seek God for help to make the changes. Determine, or resolve, to turn away from such sins and to start spending time getting honest with God. Surrender to Him and walk in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. When Satan comes knocking, shut him out. Don’t give in to his temptations and don’t buy his lies. By doing this, you’ll allow for the Spirit of God to work deeper into your life as you move closer to spiritual maturity.
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How long does it take to truly escape the wilderness?
Everything takes time. But it starts with a choice. Every poor choice has a poor consequence attached to it. Sometimes these consequences can be reversed quickly, but in my experience, it often takes a great deal of time. This isn’t meant to make you lose hope. Instead, this is just the honest truth. But what I can say is that while changing your ways in attempt to escape, you’ll grow in God and in knowledge and wisdom. This is what will help keep you out of the wilderness later.
Even if you do make good progress and God is allowing improvement in your life, you must stay on your toes. Satan will keep circling and looking for a way into your life. He knows that you’re only ever one poor choice away from wilderness living.
It’s important to think before acting and to take your thoughts captive. By doing this, you’ll be less likely to fall into the devil’s traps and make a poor choice that will promote or prolong your wilderness stay.
What are some common causes of wilderness living?
Broken trust in a marriage due to infidelity or constant lying; poor money management leading to debt, especially higher debt; engaging in crime; substance abuse; bad attitudes, including complaining, pride, anger, bitterness, selfishness. Each of these examples start with a thought, but can have long-lasting consequences and will lead to feeling like you’re circling the wilderness with no relief or way out.
In these situations, you might feel like the consequences will never improve. God wanted to deliver the Israelites to the promised land right away; He wanted them to change their behavior and live according to His ways. He wants to get you out of a wilderness situation, too. But first, He wants your behavior to change, and sometimes this can take considerable time.
God will deliver you from sinful living, but He won’t necessarily get you off the hook or out of the consequences of poor choices already made.
I’m learning to seek God daily and trust Him and surrender to Him while in my wilderness, but this is taking time. I keep hoping that He’ll deliver me out of my situations, but I believe that He still has work He’s doing in me. Even though I feel ready, God knows if I truly have changed or not.
As uncomfortable as the wilderness situation is, make a choice to follow God and resist the devil. The Israelites got stuck in their wilderness because they complained so much and wouldn’t trust that God would take them out of their situation. As a result, God kept them there.
Don’t get stuck in your situation by complaining to God and not trusting Him. Have faith. Ask Him to help you out, and then trust Him to do it while you strive to grow closer to Him. If you do this repeatedly each day, maybe even for a long time like it’s been for me, God will deliver you out of negative consequences and into a land flowing with milk and honey.
Can you imagine what that would be like? Do you feel that it’s worth the effort? Do you believe that God will allow you to escape the wilderness?
So, because the articles that I write are meant to help new and struggling Christians get out of wilderness living and into the life God has planned for them, I’ve titled my site accordingly. But it’s not just a play on words; I truly believe that by making a choice each day to seek God and deny self will land you in the promised land and out of the wilderness.
Satan will be there waiting for you to slip up. And, overall, that’s fine. It’s okay to bump into him occasionally as long as you don’t start hanging out with him. Even Jesus bumped into him and had to battle with him. However, Jesus didn’t give into Satan’s tricks. Instead, Jesus stuck to the Truth, which is the Word of God, and maintained His faith in God. That’s what you’ll need to do as well to break free from the wilderness and stay out of it.
Eternal life with Jesus is the true Promised Land and walking in the favor of God while on earth is the milk and honey of this life. Can you imagine if you continuously walk in the favor of God? Believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior will get you to the Promised Land; walking with Him each day will get you the milk and honey.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can follow this link (Prayer for Salvation) to find out how. Also, if you need prayer for your life or your family, feel free to fill out a private prayer request in the provided prayer box in this article. My wife and I would love to pray for you.