In my last post, The Wilderness Years, I outlined what the wilderness is and what the wilderness is not. Remember: the wilderness is not a place where land is possessed.
The wilderness is:
- a place of transition from our old thoughts and patterns of responding
- a place where fleshly attitudes are transformed
- a place of shaking out all the impurities in the heart
- a place where a relationship with God is formed
- a place that says “God, you are all, nothing else matters, nothing else will work
- a place where total trust has to be built in God.
Today, I want to share with you the time I knew my wilderness years were over.
It happened like this.
I enrolled in a Bible study on the book, You Were Made For More. The first lesson centered around Gilgal, the first place in Canaan Joshua and Caleb and the new generation of Israelites came to after crossing The Jordan River.
Aha! Canaan was the place I had been trying to reach for several years. I had had a prophecy stating, “You have passed the test, but like Caleb, you’ve had to wander around in the wilderness with the other unbelievers, but you will possess the land.”
I often asked God, “If I’ve passed the test, when am I going to receive the land You promised me - salvation of my loved ones, healing, restoration?” I also began to feel there was a special assignment God wanted me to fulfill in this land.
Hearing about the Israelites’ arrival made something leap inside me. Though my wilderness years had tested me to the core, I had come into an intimacy with my Heavenly Father, and learned to recognize His whisper like daddy's whispers to me as a child. Lynn writes about this intimacy in Marching Around Jericho, Chapter 3.
And now, He seemed to be whispering, “The wilderness season of your life is over! You have arrived in The Promised Land.”
“I’m here! Now, I can go to war and take possession of my land!”
Wait! Not so fast! The teacher was explaining that the Israelites had to make a stop at Gilgal to do three things before moving forward into Jericho. He also pointed out these three things are significant to us today.
Grab your Bibles and join me in the class.
1. Look Back Before You Move Forward (Joshua 4:1-4)
God gave Joshua instructions to choose twelve men, one from each tribe, to take a stone and carry it back to the middle of the Jordan River, and pile the stones up as a monument. “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What is this monument for,’ you can tell them it is to remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the ark of the covenant went across. The monument will be a permanent reminder to the people of Israel of this amazing miracle."
Today: There will be times in our faith walk when we face discouragement to the point we might wonder if God is present with us. It is those times we need to look back to past victories God has given us.
During class discussion, someone suggested we erect monuments in our home such as paintings, or any object that reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us in times past. It could change our view of our present circumstance.
2. Don’t Try to Move Forward in Disobedience (Joshua 5:1-8)
The new generation of males had stopped practicing the sign of the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - circumcision. God is now saying in essence, “Don’t move forward with sin in your life.” Thus, a mass circumcision took place.
Today: Our circumcision is getting our hearts aligned with God’s word and His will. We cannot expect victories in our life as long as it’s polluted with unforgiveness, pride, sexual sin, etc. Catching my attention was what the teacher called “acceptable” sins. Our old nature keeps popping up, and we accept it as “that is just the way I am."
Before moving forward, we must remove all hindrances to God’s power working in our life.
3. The Blood Sacrifice Must Always Remain Central (Joshua 5:10-11)
"On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, the Israelites celebrated Passover." Passover celebrated God's provision and protection. The people smeared lamb’s blood on their doorposts to recall the final plaque back in Egypt when the firstborn of their oppressors died while their own children lived. God had declared, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plaque will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)
Today: Only the blood that Jesus shed on the cross shields us from the judgment of God for sin, and puts us in right standing with Him. This is why we take communion.
And so it was, for the next few weeks, I camped out at Gilgal. It was a time when the Holy Spirit revealed things He wanted me to do in each step before moving forward.
What about you?
1. Do you hear the Lord whispering, “You are out of The Wilderness?”
2. Do you think it is time to make a stop at Gilgal?
To be continued------