Lessons from the Wilderness Seasons of Jesus, Moses, David and Joseph

Lessons from the Wilderness Seasons of Jesus, Moses, David and Joseph

Many people in the Bible went through a Wilderness Season and we can learn from them how to navigate our way through our own  Wilderness Seasons.


Jesus in the Wilderness

Jesus was in the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before the devil tempted Him. (Matthew 4:1-11) After this He went to Galilee where He begun to preach and fulfill His Life's Purpose. (Matthew 4:17)


Moses in the Wilderness

Moses spent 40 years in the back side of the desert as a shepherd. (Exodus 3) It was during this time in the wilderness that God spoke to him from a burning bush and commissioned him to go to Egypt where he begun his ministry and fulfill his Life's Purpose of taking the Israelites from slavery to their Promised Land. (Exodus 3:10) 


David in the Wilderness

David also spent some time in the wilderness tending his father's sheep before he went to the battlefield and killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17). He also spent some more time in the wilderness after this running away from Saul who was trying to kill him before he begun his ministry as the King of Israel. 


Joseph in the Wilderness

Joseph also spent 13 years in a wilderness of sorts when he was a slave in Potiphar's house and later as a prisoner before he begun his ministry and to fulfill his Life's Purpose of being the Prime Minister of Egypt and saving the Israelites from dying from hunger. (Genesis 37:13-14) 


Israelites in the Wilderness
The Israelites also spent 40 years in the wilderness between the time they left Egypt and the time they entered their Promised Land.  


How not to spend 40 years on an 11 day journey


Therefore if you are going through a challenging period in your life understand that you could be in your Wilderness Season and learn the lessons that God may be trying to teach you.


A Wilderness Season is a Time to Build Total Dependence on God

Many people live through a Wilderness Season that is characterized by suffering due to shortages of different kinds. 

For example, we can see that when the Israelites were in their Wilderness Season they experienced food and water shortages.


When David was in his Wilderness Season, he also experienced a shortage of human help because when lions attacked the flock of sheep that he was tending he had to fight them. We  know this because he later declared, The Lord God who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine named Goliath.” (1 Samuel 17:37) 


The shortages you may be experiencing in your Wilderness Season could be designed to help build your faith muscles so that you can muster the courage to believe that God will come through for you.


By strengthening your faith, these challenging shortages will enable you to look the gigantic challenges you meet in your future in the eye and tell them words which are similar to what David said to Goliath which was, "You come to me with a sword and spear (or whatever weapons your enemies are trying to intimidate you with). But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts. Today the Lord will deliver you into my hand ... so that all the earth may know that there is a God ... and He does not save with a sword or spear because the battle is the Lord's." (1 Samuel 17:45-47) 

The battle is the Lord's 1 Samuel 17:47
So if you are experiencing shortages of any kind in your Wilderness Season do not take them with a bad attitude like the Israelites who complained because that might keep you in your Wilderness   Season for 40 years or worse still, you might die in it. 

Instead, take it with a positive attitude and build your total dependence on God by believing and confessing Scriptures like My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) 

My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

In all these things I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who loves me. (Romans 8:37) 
I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who loves me. (Romans 8:37)

I the Lord will go before you to straighten crooked paths, break bronze gates and cut iron bars. (Isaian 45:2) 
I the Lord will go before you to straighten crooked paths, break bronze gates and cut iron bars. (Isaian 45:2)


A Wilderness Season is a Time to Focus Completely on God as He Speaks into your Life

Many people in the Bible experienced being alone during their Wilderness Season. 

For example, Jesus was alone in the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. (Matthew 4:1-11) 

David was also alone in his Wilderness Season because when he went to the battlefield his brother Eliab asked him, "With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?" (1 Samuel 17:28)

Joseph was also alone in his Wilderness Season because when his brothers sold him into slavery, he was taken from their home in Canaan to Egypt.

The Israelites were also alone when they were wandering in the wilderness because they did not have any other nation with them. 

So if you find yourself going through a period of suffering by yourself understand that you could be in your Wilderness Season. God could have removed all your friends from your life so that you can learn to focus on Him and listen to Him as He speaks into your life without outside interference.   

Therefore, instead of running around looking for people to love or like you, focus on God and let Him do the spiritual surgery that He wants to do in your life.

This spiritual surgery might involve going through lots of upheavals by yourself and He changes the "old you" into the "new you" that He wants to use to fulfill His purposes here on earth.


An example of these upheavals is seen in David's Wilderness Season when he was living in caves with his men running away from King Saul who was trying to kill him because of jealousy because one day Saul went to attend to his needs in the cave where David was with his men. 


David withheld his men from killing Saul and said, "The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord's anointed". (1 Samuel 24:1-7) It would have been easier for David and his men to kill Saul and stop living in caves but he chose to do the right thing in God's eyes and not touch His anointed king. He chose to continue suffering and living in caves rather than sin against God. 


Joseph also chose to suffer than to sin against God when he was a slave far away from his family and friends. He did this when Potiphar's wife tempted him to commit adultery for he said, "How can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)


Therefore understand that the private challenges you experience alone in your Wilderness Season are important foundations for your public ministry. 

If you are going through a lot of stress in this season your life manage it by believing that, 
The deeper the foundation, the higher the building.
The wider the foundation, the more stable the building.


Decide to be patient as God does the work of excavating as deep and as wide a foundation in your life as He deems fit the purpose He wants you to fulfill here on earth through you.

In addition, do not look for shortcuts that involve sinning against God to get you out of your Wilderness Season. When tempted always remind yourself that Joseph would have remained a slave in Potiphar's house and missed his destiny as the Prime Minister of Egypt if he had agreed to sin against God and commit adultery with Potiphar's wife. This is due to the fact that she would not have accused him falsely caused his imprisonment at the time that she did and he may have then never met Pharaoh's butler in prison who connected him to Pharaoh. 


Bible verses that you can confess and meditate on as you live through the loneliness of your Wilderness Season include:

I will not leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)
I will not leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or distressed. There are more with me than with them. With them are mere me but with me is my God. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or distressed. There are more with me than with them. With them are mere me but with me is my God. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8)

With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)


A Wilderness Season is a Training Season

God used the Wilderness Season as a Training Season for many people in the Bible.

For example when Jesus was in the wilderness, he was tempted by the devil and He overcame the temptations. (Matthew 4) This can be viewed as training for His Ministry which was concerned with defeating the devil.


Moses spent his years in the wilderness tending  the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro which was training for leading the Israelites through the wilderness after they left Egypt.

David also spent part of his time in the wilderness tending sheep which was training for leading the Israelites as their king. During his Wilderness Season, God also trained him to fight because when he met Goliath, he declared, The Lord God who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37) These lions and  bears were attacking his flock when he was a shepherd in the wilderness.  

Joseph also spent time in the wilderness being trained in management since Potiphar left all his property under Joseph's authority (Genesis 39:6). Later when he was falsely accused and imprisoned, The prison warden put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners (Genesis 39:22). His imprisonment can therefore be viewed as a promotion since he was now managing a larger institution. All this was management training was preparing him to manage Egypt as Prime Minister.


Therefore, learn to face the problems in your Wilderness Season with a good attitude because God could be using them to train you to fulfill your purpose.


For example, if you previously enjoyed financial prosperity but you are now facing money shortages, understand that God could be teaching you money management skills and helping you learn how to budget and improvise.  


Trust God and trust His processes because He tells us My thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and My thoughts above yours. (Isaiah 55:8-9) 

My thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and My thoughts above yours. (Isaiah 55:8-9)


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