Don’t Forget Your Wilderness Experience

Series: REMEMBER!

Lesson 4 for the Week of April 21 – 27, 2021

AIM: After studying this lesson students should REALIZE that regardless of the situation in their life – whether it is good, bad, or ugly – they need to REMEMBER what God has done for them, especially while they were going through a wilderness experience!

BACKGROUND:

You will recall that in Genesis, we have the creation and fall of many, we see many beginnings.  We have the beginning of Israel – not a nation yet, but a growing family that migrates down to Egypt to escape extinction by famine.

In Exodus, we find the family becoming a nation in Egypt.  We see them in slavery in Egypt; then we see God delivering them by the hand of Moses and bringing them through the wilderness as far as Mount Sinai.

In the Book of Leviticus, we see the children of Israel marking time at Mount Sinai while God gives the Law and the tabernacle.  God calls them to Himself and tells them how to come.

In the Book of Numbers, we see the children of Israel depart from Mount Sinai and march to Kadesh-barnea.  After their failure at Kadesh-barnea, they began to wander until that generation died in the wilderness. The years of wandering were a veritable saga of suffering, a trek of tragedy, and a story of straying. 

In the wilderness we find them:

  • walking
  • wandering
  • working
  • warring
  • witnessing
  • worshipping

The lessons which the children of Israel had to learn are the lessons that you and I need to learn, that is the reason God recorded this history for you and me.  “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).  “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Corinthians 10:11).

INTRODUCTION:

Wilderness experiences!  Have you ever had one?  Of course, you have!  All of God’s children have had a wilderness experience at one time or another. And more than one! Abraham did.  Jacob did.  David did.  Isaiah did.  Jeremiah did.  Mary did.  The Canaanite mother did.  The woman with the issue of blood did.  You have.  I have.  We have all had a wilderness experience.  Even Jesus had a wilderness experience.  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temptedby the devil” (Matthew 4:1) Truthfully, we are in the wilderness right now with Covid-19!

A wilderness experience is testing time, tempting time! 

A wilderness experience is:

  • Unwelcomed
  • Uninvited
  • Unprompted

A wilderness experience is a lonely state, we feel alone and don’t know what to do. We began to doubt, wonder about whether God hears our prayers and if He does why doesn’t He answer!  We are tempted and tried!  But through it all it is a learning experience!  We learn that God is faithful, powerful and that He will take care of us! When we cannot see the wisdom of His hand in affliction, we should then trust the love of His heart.  God is not trying to hurt us but He is helping us to learn some important lessons that will benefit us throughout our lives, throughout our journey! 

We need to understand that. . .we will be tested by the Lord!  We will have. . .

  • The Inward Life Tried

Psalm 17:3 (NLT) 3 You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say.

 

  • The Test of the Storm

Luke 6:48 (NLT) 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.

 

We must go through . . .

  • The Refining Process

Malachi 3:3 (NLT) 3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.

Zechariah 13:9 (NLT) 9 I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

 

Ø  The Final Test

1 Corinthians 3:13 (NCV) 13 their work will be clearly seen, because the Day of Judgmentwill make it visible. That Day will appear with fire, and the fire will test everyone’s work to show what sort of work it was.

 

Throughout the wilderness experience  –  remember “it’s a test, only a test!”

 

Deuteronomy 8 (MSG)

8 1-5 Keep and live out the entire commandment that I’m commanding you today so that you’ll live and prosper and enter and own the land that God promised to your ancestors. Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. 3-5  He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.

The lessons that the children of Israel learned from their wilderness experience and we can learn. . .

  1. The Nature of It.  It was –
  2. Long (those forty years)
  3. Severe
  4. The Results of Unbelief
  5. A Life Under The Guidance of God

He will guide. . .

  1. Into pleasant paths

Psalm 23:2 (KJV) 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 

b)   In making decisions

Psalm 25:9 (NCV) 9 He shows those who are humble how to do right, and he teaches them his ways.

 

c)    In the midst of Uncertainties

Isaiah 42:16 (NIV) 16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

 

d)   Unto the End of Life

Psalm 48:14 (KJV) 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

 

  1. The Blessings enjoyed while in it
  2. Bread From Heaven
  3. Their Clothing Preserved
  4. Their Feet Kept
  5. His Presence with Them

 

Matthew 6:31-34 (NLT) 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

John 6:27 (NLT) 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. . .

Psalm 34:7 (NKJV) 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV) 9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Psalm 91:4 (NLT)4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 125:2 (NLT) 2 Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.

 

III.         The Purpose of it

Romans 8:28 (KJV) 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

                     He had a three-fold purpose:

  1. To Humble Thee
  2. We have to constantly be corrected of our over-estimation of ourselves. We think more highly of ourselves than we are, or more highly than we should
  • To Prove Thee –
  • to know what’s in your heart
  • obedience to Him
  • love for Him and His way
  • dependence on Him
  • trusting Him
  • understand He knows but YOU need to know whether you will be true to Him or do things YOUR way!
  • To Teach Thee

Micah 6:8 (MSG)8 But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously — take God seriously.

Romans 12:3 (NIV) 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. . .

Psalm 4:4 (AMP) 4 . . . Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still [reflect on your sin and repent of your rebellion]. Selah.

 Psalm 139:23 (AMP) 23 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts;

Deuteronomy 8 (MSG)

6-9 So it’s paramount that you keep the commandments of God, your God, walk down the roads he shows you and reverently respect him. God is about to bring you into a good land, a land with brooks and rivers, springs and lakes, streams out of the hills and through the valleys. It’s a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey. It’s land where you’ll never go hungry—always food on the table and a roof over your head. It’s a land where you’ll get iron out of rocks and mine copper from the hills.

  1. A Life of Hope in God

Hope:

  • a feeling of expectation and confidence for a particular thing to happen.
  • Assurance

     Hope: (Pastor’s Cosby’s definition)

  • Having Only Positive Expectation
  • Hold On Problems End

 

Psalm 31:24 (HCSB) 24 Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 33:18 (NCV) 18 But the Lord looks after those who fear him,  those who put their hope in his love.

 

Deuteronomy 8 (MSG)

10 After a meal, satisfied, bless God, your God, for the good land he has given you.11-16 Make sure you don’t forget God, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today. Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God, the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery; the God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness, those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions; the God who gave you water gushing from hard rock; the God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.

  •   A Life of Praise to God

  Give God. . .

Ø  Tenacious praise

Ø  Total praise

Ø  Timely praise

Ø  Thankful praise

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NCV) 18 and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.

  • Psalm 100:4 (NIV) 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Hebrews 13:15 (NCV) 15 So through Jesus let us always offer to God our sacrifice of praise, coming from lips that speak his name.

 

Deuteronomy 8 (MSG)

17-18 If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today. 19-20 If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You’ll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God.

  • A Life Empowered by God
  • Difficulties to be Expected

Deuteronomy 9:1-2 (NLT) 9 “Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! 2 The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’

 

  • Condition to be Remembered

Deuteronomy 9:5-6 (NLT) 5 It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.

 

  • Attitudes to be Maintained

Deuteronomy 10:12 (NIV)12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear  the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

Ø  To fear

Ø  To walk

Ø  To love

Ø  To serve

Ø  To keep

Ø  To cleave

2 Peter 1:8 (NLT) 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Faith to be Exercised

Deuteronomy 11:24a (NLT) 24 Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours.

Mark 11:24 (NLT) 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.

 

  • Promise to be Trusted

Deuteronomy 9:3 (NLT) 3 But recognize today that the Lord your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised.

2 Corinthians 6:16 (NLT) 16 . . . As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

 

  • Victory to be Gained

Deuteronomy 11:25 (NCV) 25 No one will be able to stop you. The Lord your God will do what he promised and will make the people afraid everywhere you go.

Luke 21:15 (NCV) 15 I will give you the wisdom to say things that none of your enemies will be able to stand against or prove wrong.

 

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                          Thank God that regardless of your wilderness experience, He is there!

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:             When you see others going through a wilderness period, intercede on their behalf and assist as led.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:                 Share with others how you made it through your wilderness; remind them that Christ experienced one as well for our benefit.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:                 Giving helps take the sting out of a wild situation by giving you a perspective of hope for others.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:                  Regardless of your life situation, remember what God has done for you, especially during your wilderness experience(s).

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Run Your Race

SERIES:          Momma Said

DAILY BIBLE READINGS:   1 Corinthians 9:4; Hebrews 12:1-13

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