2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. 6 “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. 11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— 17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ 18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
James 1:2-5 MSG
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. 5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’” 17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. 19 And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” 20 Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert[a] A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
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Morning a message I titled Where God speaks. You know I know that God can and does speak to us anywhere in any time. But the Scripture some reveal some really unique places where God speaks to his people going to the Old Testament Testament the Smalling Deuteronomy Chapter eight verses two through nineteen. And you shall remember that the Lord your God lead you all the way these forty years in the wilderness to humble you and test you this is key to know what was in your heart whether you would keep His commandments or not. I like how they tied at together how do we know what’s in your heart whether you keep His Commandments whether you follow God’s statutes his ordinance reveals what is in here so he humbled you he allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your father’s know that he might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord your garments did not wear out on you nor did your foot swell these forty years you should know in your heart that as man Chasen’s his son so the Lord God chastens you. Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to fear him for the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land and land of Brooks of water of fountains and springs that flow out of the back out of valleys and hills a land of wheat and barley of vines and fig trees and pomegranates and a land of olive oil and honey a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity. In which you will lack nothing a land whose stones are iron out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten dinner full then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you be aware that you do not forget the Lord your God. Be ware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments his judgments and his statute which I command you today Les when you have eaten and are full and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them and when your heard Djinn your flocks multiplied your silver and gold are multiplied and all that you have a small to ply when your heart is lifted up and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage who led you through the great and terrible wilderness in which were fire and serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water who brought water for you out of the flinty Rock who fed you in the wilderness with manna which your fathers did not know that he might humble you and that he might test you to do good in the end to do you good in the end then you say in your heart my power and the might of my hand had gained me this wealth and you shall remember the Lord your God for it is he who gives you power and power to get wealth that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your fathers as it is this day then it shall be if you by any means forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and serve them and worship them I testify against you this day that you sell shall surely perish May God at His blessings to the hearing and reading of His Holy Word let us pray Father God we do thank you and praise you for your word Father we thank you that your words speaks to our hearts God. It your words guides us in our lives and and explains to us how we can and should live for you Father God Most importantly let us not forget you father let us not forget you today or in the coming days but God that we will always remember you that we will always remember that it is by your mighty hand by your power that we have strength that we have life that we we are yours may we just fully surrender to you surrender this they to you we are surrendered this word to you father that it would be your words spoken they may be made but touch our hearts or all of our hearts for your glory in Jesus’ name amen. You know when you think about him that’s a long passage. A long passage. But it’s like never he says whenever I bless you when I have multiplied your flocks when I have multiplied your silver when I have multiplied your herds what I have multiplied all these thing is. Don’t forget where they came from don’t say it is by my hand that I have done this don’t say it is by my hand or my power I’m on knowledge that I’ve built this great house or I’ve built this great flock. But God says don’t forget where came from it came from me I am the one it is given it to you do not forget to remember me says you know my main focus a small wilderness when you imagine in your minds what the wilderness is like. You may use your imagination its morning think about what’s a what’s a wilderness what it comes to your mind when you think of wilderness you might envision some place it’s very dry that’s. To be a correct image because the places in the Bible that this described as a wilderness is places that were got very infrequent rainfall so they were dry you might imagine a place that is barren looking it a place it is hard a place that is severe All these are correct images the word used for wilderness in the Old Testament comes close to our word for desert. But I don’t know about you but when I think of desert all I think about is sand I think of you know this is my vision of a desert I think of you know a mountain or hill of sand and you you know you get over that sand and you think you’re looking for that green pasture but you get over this hill when you look what do you find you’ve got on another mountain of sand and it’s one hundred forty degrees and you’re hot and you’re sweaty you’re trying to move on you’re trying to fly you’re going on for days and all of a sudden you see this away says and you get there but then you realize it was just a mirage. That’s my vision of desert. But the Old Testament usually means it is a rocky dry wasteland So there is rocks and yes there could even be some pasture. Wilderness places were places that were only usually inhabited by nomadic or semi-permanent nomadic people but they were places where sometimes the shepherds could take their flocks out to graze to feed them so there could be some pasture land but they’re still severe places remember in Exodus. Where did Moses take his father in law’s flock it said that he led them to the back of the desert. And there he came to the mountain of the. God so it’s pretty obvious that there’s more than sand and what they call the desert or the wilderness place because sand does not make for a meal for a sheep nor man right. So there had to be some pasture there. The Hebrew word for wilderness is mid bar which comes from the root word the bar which means to speak. Mid bar and the root word is De Bar which means to speak so what then is the wilderness. The place where God speaks. The wilderness is the place where God speaks God led Moses to the mid bar so that he could speak to him through the burning bush he was in the back of the desert that the mountain of God and that is where he spoke to him. In the mid bar. It is usually a very uninhabited place as we have just I. Just shared is a barren place but what does that mean it means that there is nothing there to distract you. Nothing to grab your attention away nothing to distract you from God that you may concentrate on what God is speaking to you the bar in the mid bar. So that you can concentrate on him because I know that this life our lives have so many distractions things that steal our attention away from God. I. Know there are times that my life has many distractions. People like to distract us I found a. Funny little illustration about the structure and I’m not saying this is a spiritual astray sions but it’s about the struction in this story involves a couple. Baseball players a famous catcher. Name Yogi Berra played for the New York Yankees and involves another famous ball player a matter of fact he is the home run king Hank Aaron who at the time was the chief power hitter for the then Milwaukee Braves these two teams were playing in the World Series and as Yogi Berra. Was it was his custom to do. As he is there behind the home plate and catch and ceaseless chatter is always chatter he is trying to encourage his team while distracting the other team so Hank Aaron comes up the bat and oh yeah he’s like Hey Hank you’re holding the bat all wrong you’re supposed to hold the bat so you can read the writing Hank you can’t see the writing Hank that’s not the way you’re supposed to hold the bat Hank pays no attention to Yogi and the next pitch he hits over the left field stands so Hank runs around the bases and when it comes across home plate he stops he says Yogi I didn’t come up here to read. I thought I was cute. Distractions don’t let the world distract you from what hearing what God has to say to you. The world is going to try to distract you. Today the world tries to distract you with with sex with our appetite for pleasure with money and on and on and on no one you know the world can take all the things that God intended for good. But the world will use them to distract you from God. Sometimes God will lead us. Into. In the wilderness place he led the children of Israel into the wilderness there was a purpose for which God led them into the wilderness Yes we know this because. Of their lack of faith to go into the land of Cain but why did they refuse. They did not trusting God they were relying in self instead of relying on God relying on his strength and his power their lack of trust because of that lack of trust they wandered in the desert for forty years until they could learn to completely trust God first who said and you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness to humble you and test you to know what was in your heart rather you would keep His commandments or not. That is the main point in all of this the God may know what is in our hearts. Today people would describe many things that they are going through tough things they may be experienced in their lives as a wilderness experience it might be hard times it might be a loss that you’ve occurred in your life it’s a crisis that the current crisis that you’re going through hardships conflict separation loneliness all these things many describe as a wilderness experience and God may allow us to go through these so I say what we talked about saddest go he may allow us to go through these things or similar experiences to know what is in our heart to help build us into the character that he wants to make mold and shape us into my friends we should not complain about the wilderness experiences that we are going through instead. We should be thankful for them I know we said downstairs it’s hard to rejoice when you’re going through that stuff but we should be thankful for the wilderness experiences in our lives because just as God had a purpose for the children of Israel he has a purpose for us. James one versus two through five and this is the Message Bible it says consider it a sheer gift. That’s what it says consider it a sheer gift friends when the test and challenges come at you from all sides so on that what that saying it’s considered a gift friends when you’re in that wilderness you know that under pressure. Your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors so don’t try to get out of anything prematurely let it do its work so you become mature and well developed not deficient in any way if you don’t know what you’re doing pray to the father he loves to help glory to God He loves them wants to help you you’ll get his help and won’t be conned incented to. When you ask for it think about that I love verse three words says under pressure your faith life is forced into the open. A wine press comes to my mind when we are oppressed what comes out is going to reveal our true heart and you know why when some people get pressed what comes out is ugly. You ask I know sometimes when people are pressed what comes out it does reveal their true heart and it is ugly. But as we grow. In Christ when we are oppressed what comes out is going to be beautiful because we’re going to see the faith in the trust that we have and God. The wilderness can experience can be an intense experience and it times God may speak to us through the experience not necessarily the spoken word but the experience itself. In Exodus Chapter sixteen verses fourteen through twenty. I don’t know of us and I did send them and this again I’m really. Using the children of Israel a lot this morning in the. Wilderness Experience you know that God delivered him from Egypt brought them through the Red Sea. Of this point to pause here because I want to share this God brought them through the Red Sea God wanted to take them directly to the promised land. Didn’t it it took them right there there were at the cost there are about threshold of the Promised Land they send the ten spas in. But what happened they come back when the spies came back eight of them gave a negative report. Two of them gave a good report we can take the land so I’m going to give you a modern day Ronny’s amplified version or paraphrase version of this here the children of Israel or they are there standing there’s two doors there’s two doors door number one in door number two children you get the choose which one you go through the door number one leads to the promised land but the problem is they’re looking in all they see is the giants in front of that door. They think they can’t get past them giants they forgot about the god that just delivered him bought his mighty hand and they think that God can’t remove them giants they look at door number two and this is that wilderness a barren place where I’m telling you they didn’t want to be the one they didn’t. Want to go through the door they wanted to go back to Egypt. Where they had to pop the stuff to you hear me. But he’s saying choose. You don’t get to go back. You’re either going to door number one in the wood into the Promised Land or you’re going out there to door number two into the wilderness so it’s the wilderness where they went to god had to take them out there so he could press them. But he knew in the end what it would be a man so now would go back there in the wilderness there’s a million of them there’s a lot of people there hungry God needed them to be hungry so he could show again his mighty hand so they wake up in the morning verse fourteen and when the layer of due lifted there on the surface of the wilderness was a small round substance children what was that small round substance. What they got beat him with in the wilderness manna. Manna as finest frost in the ground so when the children of Israel saw it they said to one another What is it were they did not know what it was and Moses said to them this is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat this is a thing which the Lord has commanded let every man gather according to each one’s need one ohm or for each person according to the number of persons that every man take for those who are in his ten so. I don’t know how big a numerous let’s say a court you know if there is five people in your tent in your house how many courts are you going to go gather five if there’s ten people some of them have big families first ten people in your court or your tent how many are you going to get out of ten I mean that’s not hard but some of the understand than the children of Israel did so and gathered some. More some less some are so when they measured it by armors he who gathered much had nothing left over he who gathered little had no lack every man had gathered according to each one’s name and Moses said here’s the part they didn’t understand Moses said Let no one leave anything till morning so what are you saying there by nightfall it better all be gone don’t save anything for morning OK notwithstanding they did not heed Moses but some of them left part of it until morning remember they are a stiff necked people. OK and it bred worms and stank and Moses was angry with now so they gathered it every morning and every every man according to his need and when the sun became hot it melted. And I listen as I said God doesn’t always speak through the spoken word he spoke to them through the bore arms and it stank he spoke to them through their Studer not this is madness thinks well Guts No wonder already had I told you not to say many to morning. Who look at them ugly worms Well no wonder you didn’t listen to me. They were worried about tomorrow. Going that’s why they. They didn’t trust that God was going to send the man again the next morning a better slave some of us from our Because I don’t want to starve tomorrow and I write. So what’s the message air for us today trusting for today don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t worry about tomorrow do you trust him for to day. Know that he is going to prove. I for today. Don’t That’s what got saying don’t worry about tomorrow trust me today let’s look to the New Testament look at what the wilderness should mean to us the Greek word most often translated as wilderness is there Motz or Arima meaning isolated place Jesus often sought an isolated place in Mark chapter one verse thirty five says now in the morning having risen a long while before daylight that means it was the middle of the night you’re not sure what a long while before daylight met heroes in the middle of the night he went out and departed to a solitary place and there he prayed. This is a search for solitude. Self discovery for divine presence. Sometimes we need that. A place where there is no distractions a place where we can listen. To we seek that listening can make the difference. Sometimes not just listening to God but we need to be good listeners. During some interviews in San Francisco they were doing a study. Teenage prostitutes were asked is there anything you needed most and could not get. Their response invariably proceeded with sadness in tears was all was unanimous. What I needed most was someone to listen to me someone who cared enough to listen to me. That’s the greatest thing they needed. We need to listen to others but we also need to listen to God. God needs us to listen he wants us to listen to him. Our desert can be a literal place or a medic for a place. But it may be the very place where God. Leads us. To call us back in to our spiritual life where we need to be. They are isolated places. But they can also often be a place where we can reflect on our relationship with God. Remember that’s why he led the children of Israel into the wilderness to help build that relationship that he desired to have with them. So instead of grumbling the next time we find ourself in that wilderness maybe ask ourselves maybe we should ask God. What are you trying to teach me. What are you trying to show me God. Let my ears be open let my heart God be open to what you’re trying to show me what you’re trying to teach me. But without Oh it don’t wait. For God to drag you into the wilderness. Don’t wait for that. We should seek out that isolated place. I’m not going to say how often but we should seek out that isolated place. Where we can have that time with God where there is no distractions where the things of the world are not grabbing our attention and distracting us. The desert can invite deep reflection. What spiritual realities in our lives. And Isaiah forty verse three through five it says the voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare the way the Lord make straight in the desert they have highway for God every valley shall be exalted in every mountain and Hill brought low the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth the glory the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. On and that’s the voice of one crying in the wilderness you know that speaking John the Baptist’s. Where was he crying now he was in a wilderness he wasn’t in the city were all hostile in the bustle and all the distractions were he was out in the wilderness crying out prepare the way for the Lord. My friends at St He has to sometimes get us away from that house on the bustle of the city and all the distractions. And find a highway for God. If you’re not hearing God’s voice if we are not hearing God’s voice we need to examine our hearts. We need to examine ourselves. We need to allow our faith to be tested to be proved to be pressed to see what’s in here. And ask the Lord. You may not want to ask this but asked the Lord to reveal anything that is hindering you in your relationship with him that’s hindering you from hearing him Are you brave enough to ask that or reveal anything that is Henry my relationship with you. In order open my ears but especially open my heart to receive what you have for me. My friends if you’re born again if you’ve asked God to forgive you of your sins if you’ve repented of your valiant against him you can ask him anything he is your father you are His child you can ask him anything at all. And he wants you to ask. You know as to go back to the children of Israel he wanted them. To go into the promised land he wanted to bless them right then but he knew their hearts wasn’t ready. He knew that their hearts did not completely rely on him they had to go through that wilderness experience. You may be in your wilderness experience I don’t know I don’t know where you are. But I know that. The end purpose that God has for you. Is good. It is good because it is peace with him it is trust in him. It is believing that he is faithful that he is going to provide He is going to give you the strength he is going to encourage you he is going to get you through it I mean look where he brought the children of Israel through a dry and bare he gave them water out of a rock. Is our faith that great to believe that God can give us water out of a rock. Is our faith that great that we know that he can move those giants out of the way. Your Giants might not be the Canaanites but we may you may have giants in your way. But believe God. To move those giants out of your path. Believe God to help you through that will that they would not have. Made it through that wilderness without God. They would have died of starvation and exhaustion. But with God They made it through and they came through stronger. More faithful. Than they ever would have been and God had knew the end purpose the purpose was to bless them God wants to bless you. Are you going to trust him are you going to listen to him you know allow him to speak to you and allow Him to bless you amen.