When You’re In A Spiritual Wilderness

spiritual wilderness
  • When you’re in a Spiritual Wilderness Matthew 15:32-39
  • We all go through wilderness experiences- the bible word for wilderness means solitude, desolate, isolated, scarce. There is a geography, psychology and theology to ‘the wilderness’
  • Maybe it’s an event, or a season, an ongoing illness, or a season of spiritual emptiness
  • We all go through them at one time or the other- and God can do something in there
  • Intense things happen in the wilderness!  There’s needs for water and food, danger, isolation, divine deliverance, but there’s renewal and encounters with God. Prayer, supplication, miracles
  • Throughout the Bible we see God do things in the wilderness to his people and individuals.
  • So we see Jesus today- in the wilderness, surrounded by the multitude- and he performs another great miracle of the loaves and fishes Earlier it was 5000, now its 4000
  • Two different regions- two different reasons- 5k region was jewish, 4k region was gentile
  • Jewish region of 5k- reminds of the Pentateuch, 12 baskets- 12 tribes, 12 disciples
  • Gentile region of 4k 7 baskets collected- 7 is the number of completeness, 7 days of creation,
  • There’s symbolism in the event- Jesus is declaring once again his messiahship, but also- letting the gentiles know that salvation will come to them as well- first for the Jew then the Gentile
  • But its in the wilderness- and today- you may be in a wilderness- and this message will speak directly to you. And if you’re not- use this to minister to others, or file it away for yourself.
  1. There is compassion in the wilderness
  2. 15:32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude,
  3. All of the multitude follows Jesus into the wilderness, they are tired and hungry and Jesus has compassion on them- a feeling- an emotion about them and to them- a care for their situation
  4. And that’s the nature and character of Jesus- to have compassion on them- to help them
  5. Jesus had emotions! He is not a distant savior who doesn’t sympathize with people in distress
  6. Matthew 9:36 He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary Luke 19:41 He saw the city and wept over it, Mark 8:2 “I have compassion on the multitude, Luke 7:13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
  7. We serve a savior with emotions and compassion on people- he cares about our lives
  8. And as we read and see his compassion on this group of people, it should remind us of the compassion of God towards us in our wilderness- he has COMPASSION in the wilderness
  9. This isn’t a new concept or idea- this is the nature and character of God
  10. Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.
  11. God, rich in mercy- cares about his people- what is going on with us, what we are going through the details of our life-
  12. And here’s why it matters- because when you are in the wilderness- the Devil will torment you and try to get you to believe that God has lost compassion for you and has forgot about you as you are in that wilderness- that you truly are alone and isolated, that’s its scarce and scary
  13. Now- sometimes we end up in a wilderness like these folks did for no other reason than following Jesus- sometimes it ends up that way- you follow you end up in the wilderness
  14. But sometimes it’s a wilderness of our own decisions- our sinful natures, or just chance
  15. And sometimes, you just end up there for no specific reason other than God allowed you there
  16. But this compassion in the wilderness is real- and a pathway to redemption-
  17. Have you ever been in a wilderness? You feel like your praises and prayers aren’t making it past the ceiling? You’re doing all the right things, you’re not steeped in sin, but you just don’t feel close to God? Things aren’t moving in your life? You’re just kind of stuck?
  18. I’ve had those in the past 20 years- even while pastoring this church- a sense of spiritual desolation and isolation- where I felt alone and I couldn’t get out of the wilderness-
  19. And Jesus had compassion on me during those times- as he will on you- not because of who I am, but because of who HE is- He is the God of the wilderness!
  20. Isaiah 40:11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.
  21. Friend- if you’re in it right now- Jesus has compassion on you- he is going to show up- he is going to do something in your wilderness- something is going to break through- I know it
  22. Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench;
  23. You might feel like you’re alone- but you’re not alone- the compassion of Jesus is there right before the miracle- right before he brings out the loaves and fishes- don’t forget that
  24. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Spiritual Wilderness
  • There is endurance in the wilderness
  • V 32 because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
  • “continued with me three days”- wow- that’s a trek- and a time to Go without provision
  • They must have so deeply wanted to follow Jesus- to be where he was and do what he was doing- to see what was going to happen- and to receive the gift of life that he held.
  • But it took endurance- it wasn’t easy- it took longer than 15 minutes. 3 days
  • Three days to get to the miracle- 3 days to get to the blessing. 3 days to get the fullness
  • Deuteronomy 31:8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
  • God went before them- he prepared their hearts for the miracle- but they had to go 3 days
  • It took some endurance to get through the wilderness- it wasn’t immediate deliverance
  • Why didn’t Jesus feed them on the first day? Why didn’t he deliver them right away?
  • God knows what he’s doing. He knows what he’s doing in the hearts of those in the wilderness
  • Moses and the people of Israel had 40 years in the wilderness, but they also had provision in the wilderness- they had visitations, and miracles in the wilderness
  • But they were still there for 40 years.
  • What does it mean to you
  • Have you been in the wilderness 15 minutes and giving up because you are enduring?
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 therefore we do not lose heart
  • You can’t lose heart in the waiting- you can’t give up on the blessing just because you’ve been enduring- Many many times I see that endurance is the barrier to the blessing
  • Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
  • And I get it- its easy to lose heart in the wilderness- its easy to give up when its hard.
  • But we cant. 3 days with out food in the wilderness feels like a lifetime- but we can’t give up
  • This Bible- is filled with stories of endurance- filled with stories of endurance.
  • Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • We have to become people of endurance that can last longer than a moment in our pain.
  • We have to become people who can endure. Go through stuff. Not give up. Keep following
  • We learned a lot about endurance during the past 2 years- but it seems like its not letting up
  • The things around us may not being going well for us- but we must endure!
  •  PLDC 3 days awake- thought it would never end- endure. You? Kids, job, finance, sin etc
  • Romans 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
  • Sign up for some endurance! Learn how to get through some stuff-
  • Don’t give up easy- don’t let your kids give up easy- (Gabe doing swim test 12 times)
  • Because here’s the reality-
  • Jesus is in the wilderness
  • 33 Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?”34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.”
  • When you are in the wilderness- the hardest part is that you feel alone- you feel like no one is there with you- but that is not the case- Jesus is there with you in the wilderness.
  • God was with moses Ex 15:22-26 leading them and providing for them
  • That’s why this story is so impactful- God provided water and food in the desert for moses- to prove that he was the deliverer of Israel- and now- Jesus, like Moses- sees miracles of provision
  • But its not from the sky- its from the hands of Jesus- proving to this Jewish audience- who he was- like Moses- a deliverer a provider- a leader of the nation of Israel.
  • Ps 105:40 The people asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. Nehemiah 9:15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, And brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, And told them to go in to possess the land Which You had sworn to give them.
  • What Jesus is doing is what Moses saw and did- God providing in the wilderness
  • In that place where it seems like there’s no way that you can be taken care of, and manna from heaven falls from the sky and fills your empty belly with good things.
  • God is always in the wilderness with you- you are not alone.
  • What does it mean to you?
  • Do you believe that God can show up in your wilderness? Do you remember he’s there.
  • Hosea 13:5 I knew you in the wilderness, In the land of great drought.
  • In those times of great doubt- remind yourself that God is with you- that he right there
  • I’m sure that after 2 days of following Jesus they were very hungry- but they didn’t stop following him- They stayed with Jesus.
  • Jesus stays with you in your wilderness- You are not alone- You aren’t.
  • Deuteronomy 8:2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
  • It’s hard to believe that God leads us through this wilderness experiences to teach us something- to refine something in us.
  • If we were honest about them- we would admit that we grow more in the wilderness than the deliverance-
  • That’s where faith is built- in the waiting- when you have to pray more, and hope more and believe more- when You’re not sure and you don’t know how its going to happen.
  • I’m sure on day two that these guys were unsure how they were going to get fed and how it was going to work-
  • Deuteronomy 32:10 “He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.
  • You are still the apple of his eye while you are in the wilderness!
  • Deuteronomy 1:31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’
  • Jesus filled them up
  • 37 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left.
  • That’s our God! A provider! He does not forget where his people are and what they are going through- he will PROVIDE for them in the midst of the wilderness and fill them up
  • Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
  • Jesus had compassion, the people endured, Jesus was there, so he FILLED them UP
  • Isa 25:6 And in this mountain The Lord of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces, A feast of wines on the lees, Of fat things full of marrow, Of well-refined wines on the lees.
  • This is the promise of our God- that he WILL fill and he WILL deliver and he WILL feed!
  • Psalm 63:5 says- My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness
  • I love that line from that worship song that says- “he’s never failed and he wont start now”
  • I’m not going to say that there isn’t waiting, or pains of hunger bc there IS but he ALWAYS shows up- he ALWAYS brings it to completion in DUE SEASON
  • Psalm 25:3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
  • What does it mean to you
  • Don’t give up! Wait on God in your wilderness! HE’s there with you- your miracle is COMING
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
  • Don’t lose heart!
  • Psalm 81:10 I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
  • Psalm 107:9 For He satisfies the longing soul,mAnd fills the hungry soul with goodness.
  • Right now I pray for provision, protection, peace, power, perseverance, in JESUS name
  • HE WILL don’t faint- don’t grow weary- don’t give up- your day is coming!

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