A spiritual wilderness is a place of desperation for the intervention of the Lord in the affairs of His people. Whenever there is a situation in the lives of God’s people which is complicated, the Lord God may often take them through an encounter with Himself in the wilderness so as to resolve it.
The Lord had once said before about the backslidden state of Israel, and the troubles which had confronted her as a result of her sins:
“Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’”
Hosea 2:14-16 NIV
We need to note that in every wilderness encounter that were in both the Old and New Testaments, the Lord God is the One who had always initiated it. He took those who were loved by Him to a solitary place in the wilderness, so as to cuddle them with His loving hand and words.
And as revealed in the above scripture texts, this is always an encounter of a loving God who lures His loved ones into the wilderness, so as to get intimate with them and reaffirm His Covenant with them. Everything about a wilderness encounter has to do with God reestablishing His Covenant relationship with His own people.
Israel had ignored and departed from her first love, so as to embrace a foreign God. But God had decided to reinstate His relationship back with her again; by luring her into an isolated place in the wilderness, where He could speak tenderly and softly to her again in wooing her to His side.
The Lord’s aim was for Israel to fall in love with Him again. When God is seeking to restore His relationship with His people back again, He takes them through such an encounter in doing it.
The purpose is to discipline them and help them in knowing Him and His ways better than before; so that His people may remain steadfast in their relationship with Him again. The nation of Israel had left her God to worship Baal (a foreign god). But the Lord God in His mercy and grace had decided to bring her back to Himself.
This is a spiritual encounter that will normally begin with a spiritual hunger and thirst for the Lord, in the heart of the one who is being lured by the Lord. Remember that there was a longing for the Lord in the heart of His people during the Babylonian captivity, before the Israelites were brought back and restored to their own land.
And as His written word is feeding that spiritual hunger for God, the Holy Spirit will also begin to saturate the heart of the lost ones, so as to quench the spiritual thirst in them for the presence of the Lord. That’s when the lured people of God will find themselves praying more and more in other tongues, so as to satisfy that thirst for the Lord’s presence.
The Lord God said again through the Prophet Isaiah:
“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. The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.”
Isaiah 43:19-21 NKJV
Whenever the Lord God is about to do something new on the earth, He will take His people who are being prepared for that purpose through a spiritual wilderness encounter with Himself.
It was in the wilderness that Moses, Elijah and several other Prophets in the Old Testament encountered the Lord. John the Baptist began his ministry in the wilderness. And after Jesus had been water baptized by him in the river Jordan, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for that same purpose also.
God’s pattern of dealing with His loved ones has not changed. He is still in the business of taking His Own people through wilderness encounters, so as to instruct them, teach them and receive them back for His glory, before releasing them to fulfill His will on the earth.
This is why every child of God must be filled with the Holy Spirit, because the ability to communicate in the supernatural language of Heaven, is an important key to getting spiritually intimate with God. The Holy Spirit is always there to satisfy the spiritual thirst in the life of every child of God.
Unfortunately, it’s not everyone who is longing for God’s presence in their lives. The location of the encounter is significant also. A wilderness is a secret place. It’s intended for privacy in their Covenant relationship with one another.
The scriptures said concerning Jesus:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
John 7:37-39 NKJV
That spiritual thirst and longing for the Lord in the dry moments of your spiritual life, can only be satisfied by the Holy Spirit. The Lord God alone can make water to flow in the wilderness or desert areas, so as to satisfy the spiritual thirst in the lives of His children.
The Holy Spirit is the third Person in the God Head who is both in the heavens; and at the same time on the earth. He alone is in this perfect position to do this in the lives of God’s people.
Jesus as the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit gave us this perfect solution, in quenching our spiritual thirst as Christians. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to His people. He dwells in us so as to discipline or disciple us, in order that we can be empowered to walk faithfully before the Father.
Your spiritual thirst for the Lord will always take you to a place of prayer and intercession, where the unlocking of the mysteries of God to your understanding begins.
He will speak tenderly to your heart. His voice will silence every noisome turbulence of the enemy in your life. You will be reassured that as long as you are in His presence, everything will be fine.
However, there are certain mysteries which can never be unraveled, until the proper timing comes from the Lord God. Certain things of God always have their predetermined timing for their exposures. He alone has that time in His hand.
That’s why the spiritual wilderness is an area where great precaution is crucial. The devil is a master deceiver, and he is very tricky.
But as the Prophet Isaiah said above, the “beasts” of the wilderness will honor the Lord; and praise Him also even in the midst of such spiritual encounter, whether the enemy likes it or not.
The spiritual “beasts” will have to honor God, as they will begin to drink of the waters, which He has caused to flow in the wilderness for His people. They will have to bow down and worship the Lord God Almighty, who alone can make water to flow in the dry places.
Don’t let spiritual ignorance become your hindrance
As the scripture had said:
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV
Every mystery that is being revealed in a vision or a dream are meant to help us, in becoming doers and good stewards of the written word of God. They don’t contradict the scriptures; but they will always affirm what the scriptures says.
Every vision or dream from the devil will always contradict or confuse, your understanding of what the scriptures says. Satan knows how to misapply God’s word to create confusion and disorderliness. If he tried to do it on Jesus in the wilderness, he will try to do it on you also (Matthew 4:3-11).
That’s why you will always find people who will say that they can see contradictions in their reading of the scriptures. These are the people who are taking their inclinations in the understanding and interpretation of the holy scriptures from the devil, and not from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not contradict what He wrote in the scriptures.
As the Apostle Paul said:
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
II Corinthians 1:20 NKJV
And this is where a lot of gullible and ignorant Christians have gone astray in the world today. They are reading the scriptures for manipulative purposes; so as to unknowingly carry out the agendas of the devil.
All dreams and visions are not necessarily from God (see 1 John 4:1-3). The devil gives dreams and visions to people also. But God’s written word is always there to guide us in knowing what is of God, and what is of the devil.
This is very important during every wilderness encounter, because the enemy will definitely come out to test your faith in the promises of God. He will pretend to be an angel of light, so as to deceive and make you fall into temptation.
Any vision or dream that you are not comfortable with on the inside of you is probably of the devil. Test it with the holy scriptures. If the scriptures don’t affirm it, then you must reject it with spoken words. It’s of the evil one.
Christians need to be very careful about these things. The devil is out there baiting people into sins, so as to carry out his agenda of stealing, killing and destroying. Christians have no business taking these baits of the devil through visions and dreams.
The Lord will carry you
The Bible says concerning David as the man of God (Samuel), who gave him the vision that he would become the King of Israel died. It says:
“Then Samuel died; and the Israelites gathered together and lamented for him and buried him at his home in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the Wilderness of Paran.”
I Samuel 25:1 NKJV
After the death of Samuel who had anointed David as the king over Israel, a moment of desperation came upon David. He had counted on the spiritual advice of Samuel while Saul was trying to kill him. Samuel had protected him several times.
But now Samuel had died and had been buried. A new chapter in his spiritual journey to the throne of Israel started unfolding.
The new chapter began in the wilderness of Paran. It was in this same wilderness of Paran that the vision of Lord through an angel came to Hagar about her son (Ishmael). That very vision began to be fulfilled in that wilderness (Genesis 21:20-21).
David had to move into this wilderness, so as to allow the Lord to work out things for him. It became a place of refuge for him and the people who were with him. He knew that the Lord God had anointed him to be king; but he did not know how God would bring His word to come to pass in his life.
We need to note here that David could not had gone into the wilderness without the leading of the Lord. The Lord God guided His steps into the wilderness, because He wanted to set him apart for Himself; and then prepare him for the kingship over His people.
David had been anointed by Samuel; but the wilderness encounters of his life had to approve of him and test him, so as to affirm the anointing over his life. He had learnt to rely on the spiritual advice of Samuel all along; but now the Lord God Himself wanted to instruct and teach him, how to lead His people.
No one can ever carry the anointing of the Lord successfully, without first being tested and approved by the Lord. Being king over the people of God was not a little thing for David. He had to learn how to take the Lord for His word to him.
And many of the things that he had learnt in the wilderness, are written for us in the Book of Psalms. There are many words of wisdom from him, which had given inspiration also to his son (Solomon); as written in the Books of Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. These are some of the consequences of David’s spiritual encounters with the Lord in the wilderness.
Spiritual desperation can make certain people to become destitute in the wilderness. People who can’t wait on the Lord to work out His word in their lives, will end up facing spiritual destitution in their wilderness encounters.
They may face all kinds of afflictions from the devil. Destitution can come upon them in the form of both spiritual and financial poverty. Spiritual destitution may come upon them, because they are not accepting the instruction and direction of the Lord.
God is not the author of afflictions. He does not give infirmities and poverty to people. The devil is the author of these things. There are many people of God who are suffering as a result of these things today.
This is because they are not being spiritually discipled or disciplined by the Lord, through their wilderness encounters. The Lord is disciplining them, but they are not taking His discipline. He is teaching and instructing them about how they can be healed and delivered, but they are not paying attention to Him.
The Prophet who had anointed David as King was no more. Where else would he had turned to for direction and instruction, about what the Lord had promised him?
The wilderness of Paran became the place for David to learn, how to start relying on the Lord as his Helper. He knew about the danger that Saul posed to him, and the people who were following him. The Lord had made him a powerful leader among them. But he also knew that God alone could complete what had been started in his life.
For David there was no reason or excuse for becoming a destitute. He knew that the Lord was on his side. He knew that he had been anointed to be the king after Saul. The wilderness therefore became a prosperous place for David, instead of being the place of poverty.
As long as he was looking up to the Lord, he prospered. In fact, the anointing for prosperity over his life began to rob in on the people, who had aligned themselves with him in the wilderness (1 Samuel 22:1-2).
The enemy wanted to kill him several times in the wilderness. His master (Saul) was after his life. There were people around him in the wilderness who wanted him dead. Everywhere David turned in the wilderness there were enemies waiting for him.
But yet in the midst of his enemies the Lord God prospered David and made him stronger. This is why it’s important to know that you are anointed by the Lord in every wilderness encounter.
To become prosperous during any wilderness encounter, the Holy Spirit has to be instructing and directing your pathway. He knows exactly where the hidden treasures of the earth had been stored up for you. If you are paying attention to His instructions and directions, you will become fruitful and prosperous even in the dry places.
Those who are not paying attention to the Lord’s instructions and directions, often end up in spiritual, physical and financial destitution. God never brought it upon them. Their acts of disobedience to the Lord’s instruction and direction had opened the door for these things into their lives.
Let the Lord be your reward
There is always a sense of singleness of the heart through every wilderness encounter in the scriptures. There is no place for the flesh in it. The Lord alone has to be glorified in it.
As the Prophet Job said during his own encounter:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
Job 19:25-27 NKJV
Job had gotten to a place where he was already dead in the flesh here. He was focused now on seeing the Lord face to face. He had resigned everything in life at this moment into the hand of the Lord God.
The only reason why he was alive, was for the Lord God alone. He “yearned to see God” – which literally means that he was longing to hear God’s voice. Job was longing for an encounter with Him, so that he could be able to iron out his case with him face to face.
Without any sense in singleness of his heart, Job would not have been able to experience this. He had lost everything in life. The only thing that he had remaining was God. And you are left alone with God in your wilderness encounter, then you’ll know for sure that you do have everything else on the earth. Job therefore decided to anchor his faith on Him, until He responded to his plea.
Job’s friends were there before him. But they were really adding more to his pain in the flesh. They were aggravating the sorrow of his life.
But God was with him in the midst of all these sufferings. And when the Lord finally responded, Job’s fortune was turned around in the twinkling of an eye.
It doesn’t take much for God to act on behalf of His own people. This richest man in the world at the time, who had lost everything in his life, got it all restored in a moment, as he anchored his faith on the Lord God (Job 42).
The Holy Spirit alone knows where your prosperity lies. Just as the Lord showed up for Job, the Holy Spirit will show you what is expected of you during your encounter. He will bring the prosperity of the Lord into your life.
You can supernaturally navigate your pathway out of destitution into divine prosperity, during your wilderness encounter, because you do have God living inside of you. You do have this as an advantage over Job, that the Holy Spirit lives in you. Job never had the Holy Spirit ministering to him as we do have today.
The reward for Job through his waiting moments was far more than what he had lost. The Lord had blessed him abundantly. The scriptures say:
“So, the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now, he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters.”
Job 42:12-13 NLT
There is a reward for going through a wilderness encounter. When God wants to bless His people, He will take them through it, so as to instruct and discipline them. The discipline of the Lord through such an encounter produces in them the matured Christian character, that’s needed for them to be able to handle the blessing of the Lord appropriately.
The wilderness or desert area is not normally the place, where you can ever expect to see people being blessed. But oftentimes it’s the place that the Lord has chosen to bless His people. God rejoices in doing His wonderful works in the places where we least expect.
That’s why praying in other tongues is good during such a spiritual encounter. The Lord will lead His anointed ones into their places of prosperity, as they are looking up to Him through prayer and intercession.
There are a lot of Christians today who are living in the patched places of the wilderness (see Jeremiah 17:5-6).
They have mistaken a curse in a desert area for the prosperity of the Lord. It’s like someone who is living under a curse, but because he is barely making it, he begins to compare himself with other people around him. And with this lie of the devil, he begins to think that he is actually prospering.
If you are not giving God the voice to be speaking into your life; you can’t prosper spiritually, financially and materially. God’s word is the seed that will prosper you. Sow it into your heart and begin to confess it with your mouth (Mark 4:14).
If the voices of this natural world around you are speaking louder, than the voice of the Lord into your life, then you won’t be able to read the Bible and pray.
Many are not growing spiritually during their spiritual wilderness encounters, because they are not sowing the seeds of God’s word into their personal lives.
Instead of putting their trust in the written word of God, they are looking up to men for help. They are living through the patched places of the wilderness, while calling it the prosperity of the Lord.
Give your spirit man the opportunity to be feeding on the word of God, just as you are feeding your body thrice a day with physical food. Then you will begin to see how His word can prosper you, as your prayer life begins to get transformed.
There is no excuse as a Christian for you not to be giving God’s word the uttermost priority in your life. You may be so consumed with running around to take care of several things daily, while overlooking your personal need for the seed of God’s word into your life.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33 NKJV
Seeking God’s Kingdom has to take the topmost priority in the life of every Covenant minded Christian. The power of God’s Kingdom is in His word and on the inside of every child of God. But whatever you are giving the top priority in your life is your power source.
It may be your friends, a religious personality, a social or sports celebrity or even a politician. If you are giving anyone of these the topmost place in your daily routine, it automatically has become your power source. You may be a Christian, but your Christian life is devoid of the power to save, heal and deliver you (1 Corinthians 4:20).
But if you will decide to make God’s word the top priority of your life, it will also become your power source. As you are seeking His Kingdom and putting it above everything else in life, then the reward of the Lord will begin to follow you out of the wilderness.
You will see the door of hope beaconing to you the pathway for you to take. His grace will be made available to take you into the things, that you had never even imagined before in your life. And the glory of the Lord will begin to shine across your pathway, causing you to be a blessing to your world.