Have you ever felt you were in a spiritual wilderness — wandering in circles, but never really getting anywhere? This is what happened to the people of Israel after God led them out of Egypt. They were no longer slaves, and they were on their way to the Promised Land.

God took them into the wilderness first though, before He was going to allow them to cross over into Canaan, their Promised Land. There were some specific lessons that God wanted to teach them in the wilderness. They were no longer slaves, but they had to learn to live like God’s free people. The Lord said to Israel: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these 40 years to humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deut. 8:2)

God led Israel into the desert to reveal their hearts. He wanted to find faith and obedience in their hearts. And that is why God leads us into our wilderness times. He wants to see if their faith and obedience in our hearts. Will we believe Him? Will we obey Him?

God calls us to live a life of faith. Our faith is often revealed in our obedience to God. Will you obey God when you don’t feel like obeying Him? Will you be obedient even during the wilderness?

When we are in a wilderness time, our hearts can get clearly spiritually dry, and our vision is not as clear. It becomes much harder to obey in the wilderness. The feelings and emotions are not high and passionate. When we are on the spiritual mountain top, we think, “God rocks. I will do whatever He says. Obedience — no problem. The answer is yes God.”

In the wilderness all the warm fuzzies are gone, and there doesn’t seem to be any payoff for us. Maybe your business isn’t going well, and it sure seems like it would help to bend the rules all of a sudden or cut a few corners. Will you do it your way, or obey and do it God’s way? Maybe your marriage is struggling, and the passion seems to have waned. Will you listen to your feelings, or will you listen to God and renew your commitment to your spouse and find the resources to work it through.

All the book of Deuteronomy, as Moses is preparing the people of God to cross over into Canaan, he says one word over and over again. Do you know what word it is? Obey. Moses constantly reminds them that the very key for them to cross over into the Promised land and then remain there is obedience to God.

Will you obey even when you don’t feel like it? Will you obey God even when your flesh is crying out for you to do the exact opposite? Will you run back to Egypt, or will you walk in obedience to God?

You need to know friends that God is out for your good. His commandments are not meant to hurt you. I promise you that He is not out to take away all of your fun. He is a loving Heavenly Father who wants to protect you. He knows best how life is lived. His commandments are for our good. He give us his word to bless us and protect us.

Hey, if the world’s way was working, I would say go for it. Drink it up, sex it up, lie and steal your way to the top. Go get a

divorce and find someone you think is better, etc. I have seen the results of that type of living all too often. It never leads you where you want it. That type of disobedience just lead into a pit of self destruction, vanity, heartache, guilt and shame. Obey God. It is the pathway to blessing. Obey — even when it is hard, even when you don’t feel like it. And that’s the Word.

The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at david@sscommunitychurch.org or 634-2960.

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