Written by: Silena Deon Dowling
Exodus 16:4 “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instruction”
Often when I read about the Israelites in the old testament I can’t help but notice while they were sometimes a hot mess. They mirror us in todays culture so well. God performed magnificent miracle right in their presence. He vividly showed them His glory on many occasions. Yet walking on dry ground in between walls of the raging Red Sea didn’t stop the Israelites from grumbling and complaining a short time after this.
“If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death. Exodus 16:3”
I like to think that this attitude wasn’t caused by being hangry but, being in the unknown. I can relate to the Israelites while I like change, I would much rather have them be painless and controllable. Yes, I know God is all mighty and sovereign. But fleshly nature would’ve much rather went straight from Egypt to the land of milk and honey. Or in my case Straight from college to my dream job.
The definition of “wilderness” is an uncultivated; wasteland. In my mind 20s and I feel as though I’m in the wilderness, nothings cultivated just yet walking; walking around confused.
Just like the Israelites I’ve personally seen God do great things in my life and lives of others. But at times I find myself camped in the Desert of sin asking why? There’s no coincidence that today I woke up thinking and reviewing the season I’m currently in.
This lead me to open my Bible and read about the Israelites just briefly after their escape from Egypt. I began in Exodus 16, it opens to the Egyptians reminiscing on the “good old days”. When while they were oppressed slaves, at least they sat around pots of meat.
“And I realized we often long for the past even though the conditions weren’t all that great but somewhat in our minds easier. “
Which in fact, if we are honest the good old days had their fair share of challenges as well. So why do we over glamorize the past in difficult times? Is it because we don’t trust God to carry us through the unknown. So, we much rather go back to familiar even though it’s no good.
As I read on in Exodus 16 the Wilderness did not seem so bad, in fact it seemed like the best place to be. They were near to God in the wilderness. He guided, He provided, He instructed, and He protected them daily!
As He does for all of us. But what the Lord also did was test their obedience and this revealed who they were, yet He stilled loved them.
Here in my own unknown aka 20s, God is also revealing things to me. About me. Behaviors and Attitudes ;that I so easily mask when the SUN is shining and the weathers good in my life. But when the weather conditions aren’t favorable, and a storm hits my flesh acts out. I throw fits, selfish ambition sets in, doubt and fear. Just like the Israelites, I’m a hot mess.
You see, most people can’t even picture me behaving this way and at times I surprise myself. But God knows, and He wants me to know that these types of characteristics are not of Him. The wilderness and or trails exposes what’s inside of us.
Pruning is the cutting away of dead and overgrown branches and trees. Pruning is done to increases fruitfulness. So being in an uncultivated place like the wilderness God can come in and start to do work.
Cutting of behaviors, habits, and attitudes that’s not rooted in him. All God wants is for us is to lean and depend on him. Obey His instructions and have faith in Him to do the work.
Note to self and anyone who feels like they’re in a difficult or confusing season, take advantage of the wilderness. Lean in towards God, delight in Him, obey Him and trust the work He is doing.
“We serve a God too wise to not be trusted. You’re here for a divine reason.”
When the Israelites saw their enemy behind them and the Red Sea in front of them Moses spoke. He said, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still
Exodus 14:14”. To Be Still is to calm your anxieties, quiet your fears and don’t go about doing things the fleshly way.
Be still and know:
God keeps His promises.
God provides for His children.
God’s pruning is necessary.