Inspiration Teaching Words of Life

Seasons in the Wilderness

 

Hebrews 3:7-8

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness”wilderness(Hebrews 3:7-8).

The Holy Spirit wants to encourage us today on our earthly spiritual journey by saying- during dry spiritual seasons, when you do not sense my presence and cannot perceive My voice, do not harden your hearts against me.

What does it mean to “harden your heart”? A hardened heart is a heart that has grown spiritually disoriented, callous, numb, disconnected, and insensitive towards God because of difficult trials or prolonged hardships. Maybe you’re weary and tired of waiting on God to fulfill certain promises, or maybe you are angry because life doesn’t seem to be working out for yourself or the ones you love. Possibly, you are unconscionably disappointed in God because you feel like He did not answer the cries of your heart.

When God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, He performed many mighty signs and miracles to usher His people out of bondage, and bring them to freedom in the Promised Land. The Israelites stood in awe and praised God as He opened the Red Sea and swallowed up their enemies.  Now they were on the way to the Promised Land! However, they had to go through a season in the wilderness before they could reach this land of milk and honey. Similar to the Israelites, when we come to know Jesus Christ as our Savior, He brings us out of bondage into new spiritual life, to walk in the Kingdom of God. As baby Christians we rejoice in our salvation and have faith in the power and promises of God! But sooner or later, on fallen planet earth we will experience a wilderness season where our faith or belief in a loving and powerful God will be put on trial- feelings vs. faith.

The Israelites journey through the wilderness was trying, and many started to complain about everything. The weakness of their flesh was taking a toll on their faith. They were tired of what they were eating, tired of living in the desert, tired of Moses’ leadership, and tired of waiting on God. We can substitute the word angry for the word tired, because they were feeling extremely embittered and irritated about the long duration of their circumstances. They got caught up in habitual negativity which kept them from seeing all the ways that God was still taking care of them. Their previous grateful hearts toward God had turned into constant complaining hearts! Negativity had taken control, and blinded them from seeing any positive outlooks for the future.   In this numbed out, angry, complaining state they blindly moved into the trenches of settled rebellion.  They wanted it their way, thought they knew the best way, and they hardened their hearts and turned away from God- rejecting the good plans God had promised them for their future. Their ongoing rebellion against God set them up for unbelief, and sent them to traveling in the wilderness for forty more long years. Their unbelief had shut them out and kept them from partaking of God’s promises and rest.

In life’s school we will all have seasons of traveling through a spiritual wilderness experience, when all seems wrong and the promises we believe God for feel unattainable. In this trying season, when feelings and faith are at war, we must learn from the Israelites example of the dangers of hardening our hearts against God and taking things in our own hands believing my plan is the best, my timing is right  will only lead us in circles and delay the promises of God and rest. Remember the path that sets us up for unbelief today is the same as it was for the children of Israel:  hard, unfeeling hearts settled into rebellion or opposition and defiance towards God. We must turn back to our loving, merciful God, and pour out our negative hearts to Jesus. He is big enough to take it all- He is big enough to bring us out of the wilderness and lead us into rest and the Promise land.

Let us take heart during wilderness seasons when we feel uninspired, weary, unspiritual, and realize the spiritual dangers of hardening our hearts and turning away from faith in God.  Let’ humbly turn back to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to help us work through our depressed feelings and release them to God. Let’s choose faith and obedience over feelings and unbelief. By holding fast and firmly to our belief in an all wise, faithful, loving, benevolent God, we will be able to receive by faith what He has promised, and enter into His rest.

 

 

 

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