Summary: What do you do when you find yourself in a place that seems like hell. And then you find that God sent you there? This sermon answers the question.
This is a scripture that may be hard to understand. We often talk about how good God is. We talk about God making a way in the middle of no way. We even talk about God being on the side of the weak and the oppressed. But then we come to a scripture where Jesus, the son of God, is "led" into the wilderness by the Spirit.
The wilderness, is a terrible place to be. We are told that this wilderness that Jesus was thrust into is a rough one, that descends quickly into a sea at the bottom of it. It is a rough one with rocks and the like. It is truly a terrible place. The Bible says that it is a place of temptation. Satan is in that place ready to pounce and tempt Jesus. but more than that there are wild beasts in that place. It was a place of spiritual as well as physical anguish.
And God sent him there. We often times get mad at folks. We talk about the church, but here it isn’t sister Betty causing Jesus Harm...It ain’t the Pharisees or the Sadducees, no it is the Holy Spirit that is driving Jesus into the midst of this desolate place.
As I think about this, I gotta believe that God has provided something to help Jesus through that wilderness, and if God had something in that wilderness for Jesus, God has something for us. What does God provide for us that will help us through that wilderness? We have three points. These are three things that God has for us that we will find in the wilderness.
The first thing that God has given us that will help us through the wilderness is the Word. We are ready for the wilderness experience because God has already given us that word. The powerful word that can take nothing and call forth something. Note how Jesus makes use of this resource by always appealing to it in his battle with Satan. Jesus uses the term "it is written" against all of the attacks. That word is given to us in the Bible. when the rough times of life come, we have a Bible. I remember when grandma used to have problem, she didn’t give up, she didn’t fret, she simply sat down with the Word to see what God is going to say to her. If we are going to make it through the wilderness that the Spirit may lead us into then we must make use of the resources that God has given us. And one of the biggest resources is the Bible itself.
The second thing that God has provided us to endure the wilderness is a God given identity and purpose. When you know who you are, no one whether a devil in hell or an angel in heaven can sway you from it. Note that Jesus wouldn’t bow to Satan in the third temptation because he knew who he was, and he knew who he served. See you only worship the devil if you are a child of Satan, but if you are a child of God then you cannot bow. But more than that. If you are the son of God, then you can’t bow to one who should bow to you. When you are led into the wilderness it is time to remember who you are. You see it is in the wilderness when we often do what we wouldn’t normally do. It is when the chips are down that we do what we shouldn’t do. Remember who you are and what God has in store for you.
The third thing God gives us is help in the wilderness. The text says that the devil was in the wilderness. We know that. The text says that wild animals are in the wilderness. We know that. But the text also says that angels were in the wilderness. We may be so busy looking at the devil and the wild beasts. We may be so busy looking at those who want to do us harm, that we don’t see that God has something in the wilderness looking out for you. The wilderness can’t totally overtake you if you remember that God has something there for you and to go look for that something. Note that the centurion told Jesus, you don’t have to come by my house, but just speak the word only. the word itself has within it the power to do what it says. At this point you might bring in the power of the word, for example at creation, God stood out on nothing and said, let there be, and then there was something.