WANDERING IN THE WILDERNESS!
De 2:1 Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days. (Notice that statement “into the wilderness” They went into the wilderness and never came out.
2 And the LORD spake unto me, saying,
3 Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.
4 And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:
5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.
6 Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink.
7 For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing. (KJV)
Most everything I preach could be categorized into two themes: Salvation or Christian Growth. I guess that could be called “preventive medicine.”
Every Christian is on a journey from being born again unto life eternal or the Marriage Supper Of The Lamb. That journey will take us through all parts of an earthly voyage. Jesus said, (John 17:16 KJV) "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." We must live in the world – but must not be of the world.
“The children of Esau” represent the world, the flesh, or temporal things. Jacob or Israel represent the spiritual life.
The Israelites were commanded to go through the land of Esau but not stay nor dwell nor get involved in their life style. The only participation they were to have with them was to buy food and water. They were to only take the necessities for sustaining life. They were to pay for what they used. The Christian should not be indebted to the world. I am not speaking of buying on payments or long term loans, but rather don’t owe the lost crowd a favor. Don’t be entangled with them. They were to pass through Edom as rapidly as possible. Why is it that so many Christians seem to linger in the land of the worldly things. Many go to those places to shop, to be entertained, or on vacation. Why is that? I know why it is. They like to participate in the things of the world.
There are four distinct lessons for Christians in this portion of God’s Word for us to learn today.
These lessons are:
The Warning Of God. Vs. 3-5;
The Worldliness Of The People. Vs. 1;
The Wrath Of God. Vs. 14-15.
The Wonderfulness Of The Lord. Vs. 7;
I. THE WARNING OF GOD Vs. 3-5.
(Deu 2:3 KJV) "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward."
They had been walking in circles for nearly 40 years. Every few months they would be covering the same ground over and over again. Always moving, but not going anywhere. Working hard, and getting tired, but staying in the same old place day after day.
Remember the application earlier. The mountain is Mt. Seir. Seir is the home area of Esau. Esau represents the fleshly or worldly faction of a Christian. Israel and Esau were kinfolk.
A. God Warned Them Of Their Position.
1. Where they were.
a. Mt. Seir.
b. The way of the world – the way of the flesh.
2. Where they were going.
a. Northward. Do you remember what we talked about 2 or 3 weeks ago about Abraham looking Northward, Southward, Eastward, and Westward.
b. Their destination was north. Canaan. Not South – East – nor West.
c. God is in the North.
d. We must not forget our destination. Everyday our walk should be taking us ccloser to God.
We must always be walking toward God and with God. 1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (KJV)
B. God Warns You Of Your Position.
1. Are you saved?
2. If not, He warns of you of doom and destruction.
3. If you are saved – He warns:
a. To live right.
b. Work hard for the cause of Christ. Don’t just slide through life.
C. He Warned Them Concerning Their Journey. Vs. 4&5.
(Deu 2:4 KJV) "And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:"
(Deu 2:5 KJV) "Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession."
“Meddle not” – means to not strive nor fight with them.
1. “Ye are to pass through the coast of….Esau.” Here is where the trouble begins for a Christian.
a. Pass through”. Don’t stop at every temptation.
Don’t dig in. While in the military we would be marching or hiking and stop for a break. The Sgt. Would say to us, “Don’t dig in, we won’t be here very long.” Don’t set up housekeeping.
b. “Pass through the coast.” (The Coastal Area) He warns us not to go into the middle or into the depth of the world system but just go through the “very edge” or the “coast”. Stay as far away from the world’s system as you possible can. Too many like to get right in the middle and wallow around in it for a while. Some go downtown into the “Red Light” district. Down where all the sin is. Some are attracted to the flashing lights and the music of the world.
We have to live in the world, but we don’t have to be of the world.
Notice the specific instructions given by God to them: “…take good heed unto yourselves.”
“Meddle not with them.”
“I will not give you of their land.”
“This world is not my home
I’m just passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me
From Heaven’s open door.
And I don’t feel at home
In this world anymore.”
Is it that way with you?
That’s the way it should be with a Christian. We must live in the world. We have to eat, drink, and sleep in the world, but we don’t have to let the world control or influence our thinking. That is to come from the Bible and God.
(Deu 2:6 KJV) "Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink." They were to obtain the only necessities of life from Esau.
They were not to be obligated to him. Don’t owe favors to the world. Don’t get yourself into a position of compromise.
All of these are God’s warnings and you and I must take heed to these same warnings.
II. THE WORLDLINESS OF THE PEOPLE Vs. 1.
(Deu 2:1 KJV) "Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days."
Compassed means – To get thoroughly involved with – to become familiar with – to go around and around.
Remember what God’s plan for Israel was – To take them from Egypt to Canaan. That was but a few days journey. The Israelites made it into a forty year trip.
A. The Christian Life Would Not Be Nearly As Complicated If We Didn’t Make It So.
Worldliness in a Christian is not a blow-out situation. It is a slow-leak that will eventually stall you out somewhere and leave you stranded. You don’t become worldly in a moments time. When a Christian backslides or goes out into the world it is not just a one time involvement; rather, he has been leaking a long time.
Temptation is not sin. Yielding to temptation is sin. Adultery and sexual sins are not hatched full grown. They are born in the mind in “porno magazines” or the “internet”. When you hear of a Christian falling off into sin, remember they have been leaking for a long time.
I like what E.V. Hill said, “God don’t part no water for a Christian who is going backwards.” If you are going backward in your Christian life, you are going a lone and without God.
B. Christianity Will Not Function Amid Worldly Participation.
Most Christians want a line drawn so they can walk as close to the world as possible. The Bible tells us that when a person gets saved he turns away from the world.
If a bartender gets saved he gives up bartending. He doesn’t become a Christian bartender.
If a prostitute gets saved he/she gives up prostitution. She/he does not become a Christian prostitute. There are no Christian gamblers.
Too many Christians want to know far they can go toward sin and still be a Christian? Where in the Christian journey is the point of no return? How many times around Mt. Seir can they go and still be on the way to Canaan?
You can’t walk with God and the devil.
You can’t drink beer and live for God.
You can’t watch dirty TV and live for God.
You can’t copy the ways of the world and live for God.
You are either walking with God and pleasing Him, or you are compassing Mt. Seir. You won’t be doing both at the same time.
Every trip around Mt. Seir causes many to fall farther away from God.
Every time Christianity circles the mountain, fewer and fewer make it all the way around.
Everyday getting closer and closer to the line that separates righteousness and unrighteousness.
“Just one more trip around Mt. Seir, Bro. Ivan, then we will go on to Canaan. “
A whole generation died at Mt. Seir.
III. THE WRATH OF GOD VS 14-16
(Deu 2:14 KJV) "And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them."
(Deu 2:15 KJV) "For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed."
(Deu 2:16 KJV) "So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people,"
The sadness of this whole story is this: From Kadesh Barnea to the Brook of Zered was but fifty miles. It took them thirty-eight years to travel that fifty miles. Are you aware that the majority of Christianity is somewhere between Kedesh Barnea and Zered in their Christian life? They are wandering around and around in circles and never arriving at the destination God wants them to.
If we ignore the warning of God and if we get mixed up in the worldliness of the world and if we let the sin of the present generation rub off on us and our children then we can expect the wrath of God to fall on us in full force. God allowed a whole generation of Israelites to die before they would follow Him to the destination.
IV. THE WONDERFULNESS OF THE LORD VS 7
(Deu 2:7 KJV) "For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing."
A. God Never Lets His Wrath Or Anger Influence His Grace.
(Psa 103:6 KJV) "The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed."
(Psa 103:7 KJV) "He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel."
(Psa 103:8 KJV) "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy."
(Psa 103:9 KJV) "He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever."
(Psa 103:10 KJV) "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities."
(Psa 103:11 KJV) "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him."
(Psa 103:12 KJV) "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
In the wilderness there is no planned path – there are more items that cause stumbling.
The Lord was with them during the darkest hours. “He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness;” Lahoma Garrett has given testimony of how God walked beside her as she and family members walked through a great wilderness these last several days.
(Isa 42:16 KJV) "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."
Listen to this: (Psa 78:39 KJV) "For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again."
(Psa 78:52 KJV) "But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock."
(Psa 78:53 KJV) "And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies."
(Psa 78:54 KJV) "And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased."
(Psa 78:55 KJV) "He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents."
(Psa 103:14 KJV) "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."
Even though God’s anger was raging; His grace was still protecting and providing.
“The Lord thy God hath been with thee.”
“Thou has lacked nothing.”
“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
O the wonder of it all!
The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
Oh, the wonder of it all!
The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
All of us must go through some wilderness journeys – but God will direct out path and bring us to His desired heaven.
Oh! Hear me today. He does love you. He loves you more than anything else in the world or the universe.
Won’t you show your love for Him, by obeying Him and following Him in every walk of life?