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Promises in the wilderness

  I know that this topic has just about been over-preached and in general over done, but I believe that right now, it is very timely. I would like you to imagine with me for a moment the approximately 2 million people who were led out of Egypt by Moses. You should know the story, they were led by Moses, crossed the Red Sea, received the ten commandments, worshipped a golden calf and decided not to go into the promised land when they had the chance. I would like to point out something very specific about their plight, however. I know you have already heard it, but it is extremely important and has implications for today. After the children of Israel did not go into Israel, they were forced to wander in the desert for forty years. This was absolutely a punishment and judgment by God. It of course was not what He originally planned or wanted for them but in essence it is what they chose. In fact, God was preparing for their entry into Canaan so much that when they left Egypt, He instructed all of their neighbors to donate their gold and silver and valuables to the children of Israel. If God’s original intent was for them to wander about the desert all of that time where there were no other people, what was the point of packing around all of that extra weight?? That is not the main point of this lesson though, just a thought. 

    So there they were, 2 million people roaming around the desert. There was not another group of people near them in any direction. The sand was too shifty to build anything more permanent than a staked tent. There was too little vegetation to settle into  farming the land. Essentially there was nothing… nothing but them and God. They couldn’t take those valuables and run into Egypt and grab supplies! This was their choice because they did not believe the promises of God. They did not believe that if they would have entered Canaan that they would have had dominion over the inhabitants there. They just plain didn’t believe God and it showed. As I have mentioned, this time was a time that God executed a sentence on the children of Israel for their disobedience. But I want to point out two actions that God took during this time in particular. Look at Deuteronomy 29:5 and Psalm 105:37

 Deuteronomy 29:5 

  "And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.”

Psalm 105:37

   "He also brought them out with silver and gold, And [there was] none feeble among His tribes.”

I point out these two verses because they perfectly illustrate an effect that I call “The Jonah Tree Effect”. {I will cover this in the next few days more fully} The Jonah Tree effect can be found throughout scripture beginning in Genesis and all the way through to Revelation- in EVERY book of the Bible! Essentially, the Jonah Tree effect illustrates God’s blessing and provision specifically when the person {or persons} He is providing for is outside of His will intentionally. 

    Here, in the story of the Exodus and the subsequent journey of Israel, we see the Jonah Tree effect in action- for forty years!! These people had deliberately hardened their hearts, stiffened their necks and defied the Living God because they reasoned among themselves! And God had something to say about it by pronouncing their 40-year wilderness sentence; but He also provided for them miraculously!

Think about it, originally approximately 2 million people left Egypt, and we know that during the 40-year exile, they had children because that is who eventually did enter the promised land. And during this time, not one person’s feet became swollen, not one stitch of clothing wore out, not one person was feeble, and no one went hungry or thirsty!!! Let that sink in a minute. 

    Right now, we have a choice and the choice that we have may not seem significant because it is simply a warm up for the real test. Right now we have the choice to begin relying more fully on God for our finances, clothing, housing, food, etc. For so long we have relied on our jobs, our social security, our pensions, our hustles to have our needs met. We have said things like - “God is my source” all the while stressing out if we don’t make as much as we normally would for some reason or another. Let’s get one thing straight, God does absolutely use people, jobs, social security, etc. to meet the needs of His people. The problem is that we become complacent in our understanding of who it is we rely on. We really don’t believe God do we? I can tell you from personal experience that I have veiled fear behind “good confessions” for years. I am guilty of saying “God is my source” or “I just have to trust God” and then absolutely panicking if I was short or if an emergency came up or, any number of other things happened. So I revealed to myself and to the enemy what was really in my heart- unbelief. Unbelief is a sin - it is the opposite of faith and whatever is not from faith is sin. {Romans 14:3}. The question is then, what did God do during those times? He provided me with Jonah Trees! He took care {and still is} of my clothes, my food supply, my vehicles, housing, everything!!! Praise God I have never missed a meal, my animals are always taken care of, my children never wanted for anything, and all the while, I was in fear! God is so good that in my weakness to believe Him, He showed Himself strong on my behalf. 

    Let this lesson encourage you that if you know inside yourself that you really don’t believe that God is your source and that if you were restricted in some way from receiving the provisions you currently receive, that you could simply keep going because God has you that God will always provide a Jonah Tree for you until you. He is God, and He lives within you if you are saved. He has made you His dwelling place and has promised to provide for you, therefore, when you are faithless, He remains faithful. 

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