Wilderness Christians – Thoughts In The Wilderness Part 2
Thoughts Of Moses
It is quite remarkable that Moses, due to his complacency, sold himself short in the wilderness. Moses may have thought often of his own personal wilderness. Because he first fled Egypt alone, Moses did not have the faith to enter Canaan because he was always comfortable with the wilderness. He had the faith to lead them out of Egypt, but not the faith to lead them into Canaan. Unfortunately, it was always the same faith, the same God doing it.
Before God called Moses from the burning bush, Moses had already lived 40 years on the backside of the wilderness. He fled Egypt and lived 40 years in the wilderness. The great, strong soldier and leader in Egypt became unknown for 40 years shepherding a bunch of lonely sheep for his father-in-law. Obviously, he was very comfortable to remain unknown even though he knew God was calling him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Likewise, a carnal Christian becomes very comfortable in the wilderness, very complacent. He is very resistant to change – especially the change God desires to make in him. God stresses a radical change of abundant life – the deep revelation of His Son’s life in the believer. Yet, the carnal Christian refuses to clearly see this and can only settle for a second-hand Christianity. He makes it a religion and strays from a relationship. He is whom Paul writes of in II Corinthians 11:3 – “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”.
He becomes an experienced legalist. The majority of his Christian walk now becomes self-effort instead of grace-motivation. Again, what a sad testimony for a Christian! If he does not permit the Holy Spirit to convict him of this sin and then renew his mind, he will die burdened in his earthly life. He will be buried in the wilderness, like Moses, on the wrong side of Jordan. The life of Christ in him will become only a distant and vague memory. Brethren, please do not let this happen to you. Let the life and love of Christ totally overwhelm you. Come back to your first love. Come back to the moment of your salvation. Jesus has always remained and will continue to be the same. He just loves you so very dearly. His love has never diminished one bit. He wants to share His entire deity with you everyday until you leave this earth.
Yes, brethren, there truly is joy and love on this side of heaven. Overwhelm yourself with Him. He just loves you so dearly. He has laid a banquet in the presence of your enemies. This banquet is His very own life in you. Why choose the wilderness in your own self-effort? You experience enough how dead and barren the wilderness is. Why make yourself comfortable there?
Dear Lord, I pray for my brethren. I pray that you show them true life and true love. Move them, Holy Spirit, to your conviction. Fill them with the renewal of the mind of true new birth, true regeneration. Show them abundant life, Lord, so they may gracefully and cheerfully enter Canaan. Lord, you increase in them and their self-effort decrease. Thank you always for Your life, Lord.
Thoughts Of Manna
Recalling Numbers 11:1-10, there was a two-fold purpose of the taste of manna.
- Taste of oil – the witness of the presence of the living God, the Holy Spirit, in the human spirit.
- Taste of honey – incentive to get out and get in to a land of milk and honey.
The more the Israelites collected the manna, the more they became sick of it. It became too dull and monotonous. Numbers 11:6 – “But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, besides this manna, before our eyes”.
Brethren, how dull and monotonous has the Holy Spirit of manna become to you? Quite a challenging question! Manna for breakfast, manna for lunch, manna for dinner, manna for late-night snacks. No wonder they dreamed of their sins of Egypt. When you live in the wilderness and refuse to enter Canaan, you desire Egypt with its leeks and onions and garlic. A carnal Christians truly smells of the onions and the garlic of the flesh. He has a repugnant stench of the flesh. If you desire Egypt and this desire is very strong, God will permit you to have it. This is very dangerous. You flirt with fire if this is your reality. The bigger the fire the bigger will be your burn. Your sinful thoughts will soon be acted out in reality. Do not say God never warned you. That is why you have the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It is your own responsibility and fault. Accept it.
Immediately upon my realization of this boredom of the wilderness Christian, a teenage Christian brother from my Bible study class remarked the challenge the teenagers and teachers from his church face to maintain their daily walk in Christ and to keep it fresh, real, and pure. The teenagers frequently comment the hypocrisy and boredom many older Christians experience. They remark how the adults look and act so miserably. They look so bored; basically like the wilderness children of Israel who became bored of the manna.
These teenagers are so keen and wise. They infer that if older Christians look and act so miserable and sad, why should they become Christians and become like them.
What an outstanding example of wilderness Christians and their children! Their children are born in the wilderness with no experience of either Egypt or Canaan. The children only experienced the dry and dead wilderness. They experienced no sustaining presence of God (manna) because their parents were bored of God and Moses. There were only distant, remote dreams of Canaan; dreams that their parents ensured would never come true. They only experienced, from their parents sharing, how much better it was back in Egypt (the unsaved world) than the wilderness. Is this not what the children of Christians do today? They see the wilderness life of their parents; thus preferring quite easily the pleasures of the sins of Egypt. What a superb statement! (Brethren, keep interceding for our youth. Keep interceding for them to experience Canaan. Intercede that God raises up a new generation of young believers with the zeal and wisdom to immediately possess Canaan. The body of Christ desperately needs a return to our pure faith – a return to the intimate love relationship with Christ).
At least life in the wilderness can be made to look exciting. You actually belong to a church that has a name. You show off your spirituality by bragging to people that, “I am a member of the Christian Fellowship Church of the Wilderness”. Yes, you boast about your church where fellowship in the wilderness is very common. You boast of your church’s reputation and influence in the community and politics, the monthly 50-50 raffles to raise funds, the Vegas gambling night, the weekend church trips to social events like the gambling casinos (such as Las Vegas, Nevada – actually built in the wilderness), and of course, its great tradition and its great spiritual gifts and spiritual leaders. What an exciting life! Of course if you are a wilderness Christian, who could ever think of not joining your church? Wilderness Christians need fellowship with one another. The fellowshipping truly become pity parties. All the members of the fellowship are “dried away in their souls” (Numbers 11:6). They have rejected the manna from the Lord, what they truly need. Instead, they choose what they want – the wilderness. How pathetic!
Let us be real with one another. You are absolutely worthless as a Christian in the wilderness. You will never change in the wilderness; you change only in Canaan. The wilderness Christian is dry and barren in his heart. He is as dead as bones. He only knows to cover it up with furious church activity. You need to only pass the physical exam to join the Christian Fellowship Church of the Wilderness. Any doctrinal belief will do. What a boring life! I lived 17 years as a wilderness Christian. I refuse to go back. I truly enjoy life now. My life is Christ. My life is His life – nothing more and nothing less do I need or desire. Life is the most exciting it has ever been; and as every month and year passes, it only becomes more exciting. Canaan (Christ now) is well worth it. I still have major problems in life, but I now see them through His eyes. My problems become His opportunities to show what a great God He is. No job is ever too big for Him.
Why do you delay your eleven-day journey into Canaan? You enter Canaan through the cross and rise in His resurrection. You will identify yourself as a child of God, no longer a member of the church of the wilderness. Would you truly desire to meet your Father now?
God sustained them with manna in the wilderness. He never intended to satisfy them in the wilderness. Satisfaction was planned in Canaan, as soon as they entered. Therefore, God ‘suffered them to hunger’. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 – “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And He humbled thee, and SUFFERED THEE TO HUNGER, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live”. Yes, satisfaction was in Canaan, not the wilderness. What is delaying your entry?
The manna in the wilderness bare witness of the Holy Spirit. The manna ceased once they entered Canaan. They no longer needed the witness of the Holy Spirit; once in Canaan they now enjoyed the fullness of the Holy Spirit. They were no longer sustained; now the living Christ Himself – the living bread from heaven satisfied them. Do you not have a desire to be totally satisfied with the abundant life of Christ in your everyday Christian walk? I guarantee: once you begin and continue to experience the total satisfaction of the love of Christ, your desires and memories of Egypt will subside and disappear. This occurs as you continue to grow in grace and maturity in Christ. II Peter 3:18 – “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.
Just absorb God’s intimate love for you from Psalm 81. Recognize and meditate often on this so God may make your daily walk totally satisfied with a true and experienced reality of His life and His love. Psalm 81:10 – “I am thy Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it”. Outstanding! I ask you – “When you open your mouth wide, what does the Lord fill it with”? Is it physical food? Not really. I pray you grasp that He fills it totally with Himself – His very dear and precious Son in the form of His Holy Spirit. Why do you believe God emphasized to open wide? There is an abundance of spiritual food and drink coming. He truly desires to provide you with satisfaction in every area and at every moment of your life. This is how deeply He loves you. True satisfaction is only in His Son. He now is your new life. He convinces you of His unconditional love and acceptance for you. (Has any other person ever done this totally for you? Never – we are all sinners by nature.) He provides meaning and purpose to your life. Suddenly you have a love motive what the true meaning of life is all about – HIM. He truly changes your heart into His.
This is what eagerly awaits you – true total satisfaction. He is what has been missing during your daily wilderness journey. You depended on Him for sustenance, not satisfaction. Watch out now! Be prepared for His deep satisfying love if you are choosing to truly enter Canaan.