At the LORD’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?”
But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:1-3)
Each of us has his or her own wilderness cycle. Some struggle with a quiver full of small children at home. Others have no children. Your test may not be related to the home at all; it may be connected to your employment. Perhaps you're wrestling with relationships; you're abrasive and have difficulty with people. That's why God keeps you with people and grinds away so that your long-standing Egyptian habit might be altered. With others it's finances; you live continually under the gun of insufficient funds. Maybe it's a problem related to academics and school issues. That's your wilderness.
Your wilderness does not separate from you merely because you fly several thousand miles to some other spot. Wherever you go, your Egyptian appetite accompanies you. God is in the business of not only putting you through the Red Sea at salvation, but in getting you to Canaan by way of the wilderness. Conversion is often a brief trip to the altar, but maturity is always married to time.
Remember that this week. You have never lived the seven days in front of you, and you will never live them again. Life is like a coin. Spend it any way you want to, but you can spend it only once. God would like you to learn from your experience in the wilderness. He wants to change your appetite, change your habits, change your style, and, in the process, change your entire life.
As I've been writing, such deep, inward changes do not suddenly occur; they begin at the cross, where you lay down your arms and accept God's gift, Jesus Christ. Now may be your time to say, "Lord Jesus, this is Your moment. I give You my heart, my life, as Your child."
May we never forget the lessons of history, whether they be our personal history or the history of ancient Israel. And may we heed the words of my high-school history teacher, Mrs. Allen, "There are two things that you can do with history: you can ignore it, or you can learn from it."
Learning from the past may be hard, but continuing in ignorance is expensive. Better to learn those priceless lessons today than to search for pennies in the scorching wilderness tomorrow.
Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. www.harpercollinschristian.com
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