When God brought the nation of Israel from Egypt to the border of Canaan, they didn’t believe that they could overcome the giants in the land. Because of their unbelief, God sent them into the wilderness to wander for forty years.
God’s purpose in the wilderness was to starve out their unbelief and bring them to the place where they would have faith to enter Canaan and conquer the giants of the land.
Although the wilderness was designed to grow the corporate faith of the nation, it also served to expose their unbelief. We can see this in the following passage:
How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel (Psa. 78:40-41).
The wilderness brings you face to face with your unbelief.
One reason they struggled with unbelief in the wilderness was because their surroundings were so bleak. Everywhere they turned, the terrain screamed at them, “This place is hopeless! You cannot live here. If you stay in this wilderness, it’ll be your end. It is impossible for you to do anything productive in this barren land. This place is too hard—even for God.”
Your wilderness probably screams similar things at you. “This is impossible! Your life is over.”
When times are good, we feel good about our faith levels. When our faith isn’t being challenged, it’s easy to think that it’s stronger than it actually is. When God leads us into the wilderness, those illusions are stripped away and we are confronted with our unbelief. Will we heed the voices of unbelief that suddenly accost us in this barren wilderness?
Some of the things you see about yourself in the wilderness will shock you. “This wilderness is stronger, in my eyes, than my God!”
When confronted with your unbelief in the wilderness, launch on a pilgrimage—a quest for authentic faith in the Holy Spirit. View your wilderness as a “school of the Spirit,” designed by God to mentor you in mountain-moving faith. If you’ll pursue it, God will lead you into great exploits even while you’re still in this wilderness.
A prayer: “Lord, I purpose in my heart, by Your grace, to refuse to allow this wilderness to limit how You can use me in this season. I choose to believe that even now, in these wilderness years, You can gain great glory through my obedience.”
Your current limitations do not limit God. O desert dweller, refuse to “limit the Holy One of Israel!”