YES! YES! And Amen to that! Today, I began a study on the second half of Exodus. I learn from Jen Wilkin. She’s an amazing Bible teacher and I’ll be somewhat modeling her approach this summer. The parallels between the Old and New Testaments are amazing and give me Indiana Jones moments as I uncover wonderful treasures.
Turns out these treasures aren’t exactly hidden but I do have to make an effort to seek them out. (That’s a lecture for another day.)
In the first part of Exodus, chapters 1-18, we learn how God uses Moses to rescue them from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. A “picture” of salvation if you will.
It points to God using Jesus on the cross to rescue us from the slavery of sin and death.
The second part of Exodus describes the process of God then removing the Egypt out of the Israelites! It’s not their salvation story…that’s already happened.
This is their sanctification story!
God loves them too too too much to save and not turn them into His people. They had been in Egypt 400 years or so. That’s a long time to be in bondage. God doesn’t free them slavery and not change them.
It’s the same for us. He doesn’t free us from the bondage of sin and not change us. Sanctification is where we grow into the likeness of Christ.
In less happier news, this process of sanctification happens in the wilderness. Bleh. Yes. You see, once you are saved by grace because of Jesus, we spend the rest of our lives being sanctified, or the process of becoming more like Jesus. He brings the “world” out of us.
If you study what scripture tells us, you’ll see that God led them to the wilderness. There were other options, but God guided them there to protect them.
HE brought them to the wilderness because it was the Best option.
In the wilderness, we learn what idols our hearts still worship. Our salvation is secure, but the wilderness brings up areas in our hearts that God needs to purify in order to see Him for who He is… and He is EVERYTHING.
You might be thinking… I JUST GOT OUT OF THE WILDERNESS!
I know. The wilderness is the worst… but He brought you through it. You can trust Him to do it again.
God wants us to see Him and know Him and love Him. It’s in the wilderness where God removes the meaningless and replaces it with His Glory.
He is always better. We know this, but let’s face it… the wilderness sucks. My last trip to the wilderness shed light on idols I didn’t know existed: convenience & gluttony.
These idols have been exposed. I can now confess them to the Lord and be watchful that they don’t creep in consuming spaces in my life where Jesus could be reigning.
It is easier for me to bring idols before the Lord because He has removed uglier things in the past.
I really didn’t like walking the wilderness that revealed my total lack of dependence on Christ, lust for the world, and pride….those were the worst. And I really, really, really didn’t like the wildness or trial that tested my faith…well…. in everything. God was faithful to lead me out.
I came out with a stronger love for God and faith in His goodness. God showed me He was better.
He allows us to enter the wilderness, lovingly walks next to us as we stumble about the wilderness, and we exit the wilderness looking a more like His people.
The Israelites learned how to be God’s people walking through the wilderness.
God’s people don’t like it, but we must walk through the wilderness to get to the Promise Land.
Acts 14:22 “Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through MANY tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (emphasis mine)
We will have multiple wanderings in the wilderness in this life, but GOOD NEWS! God finishes what He starts! It’s a popular verse for a reason! The people who say this know God to be true to His word.
If you are someone who feels they are in the wilderness… again, please let me give you a virtual hug, a tall caramel macchiato, and some new lip gloss. And hear me pray this over you.
Friend, you are so loved by people and your God. You are not alone. Jesus is doing a work in you that will bring everlasting joy. He loves you too much to leave any part of your heart loving things that won’t satisfy. I’m so sorry you are walking through this, but I’m praying you are encouraged knowing that this season isn’t a waste. This time in your life isn’t a waste because God waste nothing. He redeemed you at your salvation and now He is purifying your heart so that you may see Him. He is worth it. I love you! I bless you in Jesus name.