Wilderness Thinking

What should have been a four hour drive took us twice as long…but it was our fault.

Recently, my wife and I-along with another couple, rented a cabin in the Tennessee mountains. We had no specific plans other than to visit antique shops and thrift stores. After four days of doing what we love, we headed home…a short four hour drive. Yet it was eight hours later before we finally pulled into our driveway. We didn't get lost, nor was traffic the culprit. Love for flea markets was. We chose to stop at several on the way home.

The Israelite's trip was lengthier for a different reason. What should have been a brief journey from Egyptian slavery to Promise Land freedom, took 40 years. Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea…But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt…Moses addressed the people. (Deuteronomy 1:2-3 NLT)

Wilderness thinking limits God due to our disobedience. When Moses sent the original spies into the Promised Land before the Israelites attempted to enter, they returned with a discouraging report. The land was beautiful, but the people were fearsome and the cities were gated. No hope for entrance…no chance to conquer. So God taught them a 40-year lesson about the importance of obedience.

Wilderness thinking limits me. The entire generation who left Egypt perished in the wilderness. Only their children and two of the original spies were allowed to enjoy the blessings of the Promised Land. Sin and self-effacing limits God because I limit what I perceive he can do in and through me.

Negativity is also typical of wilderness thinking. The spies' report was negative as was the attitude of almost the entire million people who escaped Egypt. God could never satisfy them very long with the food, water, shelter, or shoes he provided. Negativity keeps me-and anyone associated with me, in the wilderness.

Are you in the wilderness of your mind? Let God lift you up and bring you out of your self-imposed desert.

Prayer: God of deliverance, bring us out of our wildernesses thinking into Your green pastures of optimism.

Martin Wiles
Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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