There is the wilderness of our own making. It is uncharted, and we are on our own with our fleshly choices. Proverbs 13:15 Amplified aptly described it. It says, “Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the transgressor is hard (like the barren, dry soil or the impassable swamp).”
Proverbs 29:1 says, “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Stiff-necked means stubborn. 1 Samuel 15:23 says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord…”
There is God’s purposed wilderness. It is also uncharted to us, but the Holy Spirit is there to lead us through. 1 Corinthians 10:11 says of the children of Israel, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition…” Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Exodus 13:17 says that God took them the long way because they were not ready for war. Verse 18 says, “So God led the people around by way of the wilderness to the Red Sea…” The Red Sea was their first obstacle. What did they do? Panicked. What did God do? He used the impossible as His vehicle to destroy their enemies!
There are no street signs in the wilderness, nor are their street lights. It is all barren land that looks the same. Yet God miraculously provided for their every need. He was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Their clothes and shoes did not wear out, and He fed them with manna for forty years!
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “…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.”
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has not changed His method of testing our heart. Our trials are like a wilderness. They are full of obstacles, hardships, and impossibilities designed to expose our hidden dross. God’s wilderness is a refiner’s fire. His purpose in them is to train us for war, develop His character in us, that we may endure and He is glorified.