The Lord uses our wilderness times to pin down our opponent! 1 Peter 4:1 says, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” Our hidden flesh hates the wilderness because it gets exposed. That is the Lord’s intent.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness…” Did you notice? God purposely led them into the wilderness. Let’s continue the verse for His reason. It says, “…to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
How did the Lord do this? He set a table for them in the wilderness. Verse 3 says, “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.”
Our flesh is our enemy. Its triggers may be hidden from us, but totally open before the Lord. Let’s go back to a well known verse. Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” How did God’s special provision of manna expose the hidden flesh for the children of Israel? He gave them specific instructions. Did they follow them explicitly? Exodus 16:19-20 says, “And Moses said, Let no one leave any of it till morning. 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.”
Not only did God reveal the hidden flesh of the children of Israel, but also of their leader Moses. The children of Israel were not the cause of Moses’ anger. His anger was his flesh that came out of hiding. Hidden sin blocks our fellowship with the Lord. Our flesh does not like God’s word to correct it. Our flesh opposes God’s way.
Psalm 103:7 says, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.” The Lord told His leader Moses what He was going to do. You can go back to the account of the Red Sea. Moses knew exactly how the Lord was going to accomplish what He said, though the children of Israel did not. They saw His acts. God’s way is revealed through His word.
Luke 4:4 Amplified says, “…Man shall not live and be sustained by (on) bread alone but by every word and expression of God.” When our flesh is active, it opaques our vision and sensitivity to the moving of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I want to know His ways! I want my ways to be conformed to His ways. Psalm 18:32 says, “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.”
Our wilderness times are designed to bring up the hidden dross of our flesh. The Lord desires our whole heart. He cleanses our heart by washing it through His word. Picture this: A jar with muddy rocks. As you allow the water to fill the jar, the water gets muddy. However, if you continue to allow the water to run into the jar, the water will clear. As we consistently read His word and apply it to our lives, it becomes His purifying instrument. He deftly penetrates with His scalpel to pierce through our soul and spirit.
The Lord knows our intentions. However He uses our wilderness journey to help us see our intentions behind our thoughts that do not please Him. His word to us tests our heart. If we do not heed it and practice it, He will orchestrates ways to humble us. It is far better to humble ourselves under His mighty hand, than to be humbled.