You know how sometimes a light bulb goes off in your spiritual eyes and you see that God has been directing your steps and you didn’t even realize it? Well this post is one of those spiritual light bulb moments for me.
As I sit here praying over you all and realizing that this post will fall on the last day of the year – really the last day of the decade, I can’t help but be excited about where we find ourselves in this study. It’s nothing I planned. I’m not that organized or that smart. My little pea brain doesn’t really function that way.
But today – on the last day of the decade – on the day before the dawning of a new decade – the Lord has us looking in the rearview mirror of our journey, taking stock of where we’ve been and what He has done so that we will take hold of the new things He wants to do in us, through us and for us with our confidence rooted in the Living God.
Isn’t God awesome! Isn’t He amazing! Sweet friend, I hope you see how He is so involved in the details of our lives!
We want God to do a new thing in our lives. We need God to do a new thing in our lives. But God may just want us to retrace our steps and begin to do some of the old things first.
That’s what we studied Wednesday and I can’t help but wonder if the Lord spoke to you about doing the old things before He begins to do a new thing in your life? I wander if this lesson finds you willing to go to the far side of the wilderness in order to position yourself to meet with God and hear Him call you into a new work that is beyond anything you could imagine.
Perhaps you’ve retraced the steps you have taken on your journey of faith and you realized that it was time to begin at the beginning again. To do the first works so that you can prepare your heart for the new things He will do in your life.
I’m not sure where you are, but I know I’m excited that God had me on this lesson, for this day, for this season – for such a time as this. It’s not a coincidence, sweet friend – no, it’s definitely not a coincidence.
Today we’re going to spend some more time in the wilderness. It’s where many of us have spent much of this past decade. Yet, we did not die there. God sustained us; He met our needs in new and fresh ways we may not even have been aware of.
Today – may we be made aware of His care for us – even in our wilderness journeys.
So, let’s get into our lesson. Our main text for our study remains Isaiah 43:19. I will provide all the verses below just in case your Bible isn’t available.:
“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. (NKJV)
It’s important to note that the roads He makes are in the midst of the wilderness. The rivers He creates are in the middle of your dessert. They are provided to sustain you in your circumstances – not to get you out of them. Your experience in the wilderness may be a difficult one, but let the way the Lord sustained you there prepare you for what He’s about to do in your life. Look with me at the following verses and see how the Lord preserved His people in the wilderness of their lives.
“Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.” Exodus 16:32 (NLT)
This one verse is rich with the reality of God’s provision in the wilderness, but as you read the Word of God, please remember it was written as an example to us of what He wants to and will do for us, as well.
1. What did the Lord command?
3. When did their wilderness journey begin?
Oftentimes our wilderness experiences come right on the heels of great victories in our lives. We see God move in a big way and somehow we end up in the wilderness when it’s all said and done.
Yet God sustains us in our wilderness journeys. He does not abandon us. He does not leave us to starve – physically or spiritually. His presence is constant and His provision is proof that He is near – that He sees what we are going through.
Have you ever thought about the fact that your wilderness experience may have little to do with you and much to do with those who will come behind you? In Exodus 32:16, God commanded the children of Israel to set aside evidence of His presence and provision during their wilderness journey so the generations to follow would see His love for His children.
Today, you may be bitter about where you’ve been or are having a hard time giving God glory in the midst of your own wilderness journey. I want to encourage you to write out all the ways He has sustained you in your dry and barren land. It will not only encourage your heart, but it will also provide proof of God’s abiding presence and steadfast provision for future generations.
The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Exodus 1:30-31 (NKJV)
4. These two verses show three things the Lord does for His children. What are they?
5. Have you felt the Lord carry you lately?
I have to be honest with you, these last two months have been one big wilderness period for the Shott household. We have lost three family members in six weeks and it’s been hard. But I also want to pack some manna of God’s goodness into this post and tell you of His faithfulness to carry me through the wilderness of losing precious loved ones. He has carried me. I sense it as if I could feel His wonderful hands lift me from my grief and walk me through the dessert of my pain. HE HAS CARRIED ME like a man carries his son and I’m so thankful my Heavenly Father has not left me alone in my wilderness, but has carried me to this place.
His peace has become my road in the wilderness; His obvious presence has become my stream in the desert.
“And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Deut 8:2 (AMP)
God calls us to remember where we’ve been – the times of testing we’ve walked through – what we’ve learned from those wilderness lessons. He does not lead us into and through the wilderness without purpose. They are hard places with hard lessons that will make us see Him work in ways we would have never seen on the mountaintop.
He is the God of our wildernesses just as much as He is the God of our mountaintops.
6. What lessons have you learned on your wilderness journey?
7. Were some of your desert places places of chastening or places of testing?
8. What is in your heart? Will you keep His commandments or not?
9. Will you allow your reflections on your wilderness journeys of the past decades to ready you for what God wants to reveal to you? Are you really prepared for the new things He wants to do in your life?
Sweet friends, this has been such a good study for me. I’ve desperately needed it. I know the Lord wants to do a new thing in me, but He showed me that I had to retrace some steps and do so old things first. I thought I was ready, but I really wasn’t. I had to deal with some stuff -some hard stuff. I had to let go of some junk – get busy doing the first works – to get some things right.
What has He shown you? I’d love to hear if the Lord has used this study to do a work in your life.
I can’t wait to spend Monday with you! We’re going to start looking forward to the new things we hope the Lord will do in our lives. I’d love for you to share the new things you are hoping He will do. If it’s of a personal nature, you can email me at stephanieshott (@) me (dot) com.
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