I was 19 years of age when I first heard the analogy or typology of the children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and journey toward the Promised Land as a picture of the believer’s spiritual journey. Dr. Bohac, my pastor and High School English teacher, taught a most revolutionary (at the time) bible series that became so important to my understanding of God’s plan for his children. If I remember correctly, Dr. Bohac’s perspective was that it is God’s plan for the promised land (the promises of the Lord) to become the full inheritance for the people of God. However, though the promises of God are for all his children, there was a wilderness experience that had to be traversed in preparation for the inheritance of the promises of God.
Most Christians who have attended church for any period of time know well the Old Testament story of the Exodus (recorded in the book of Exodus). The children of Israel had been in bondage for 400 years. During their time of bondage they had become slaves under the domination of the Pharaoh of Egypt. In the fullness of time, according to the promises of God, God raised up a deliverer, Moses, who confronted the pharaoh of Egypt, preaching gospel of deliverance to Pharoah, eventually winning the release, howbeit reluctantly, of the people of God. This story provides to the modern church a picture or type. Egypt presents a picture or type of sin and bondage to the world system. Moses is a type of deliverer or savior, even as Christ, who also came preaching good news that there was liberty and freedom for those trapped hopelessly in bondage (see Luke 4).
In the story of the release of the people of God, the children of Israel were lead by the Lord to cross the Red Sea, a type or picture of the necessity of all people to receive God’s grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. They crossed the Red Sea and, after a brief time of rejoicing in the desert, began their trek toward Canaan, the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Between Egypt, which is the place of bondage, and the promised land, the place of inheritance, is the wilderness, a dry desert area filled with opportunities for blessing but also opportunities for failure.
In the story of the release of the people of God, the children of Israel were lead by the Lord to cross the Red Sea, a type or picture of the necessity of all people to receive God’s grace through the blood of Jesus Christ.t. They crossed the Red Sea and, after a brief time of rejoicing in the desert, began their trek toward Canaan, the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Between Egypt, which is the place of bondage, and the promised land, the place of inheritance, is the wilderness, a dry desert area filled with opportunities for blessing but also opportunities for failure.
In the wilderness, the children of Israel received instructions from God through Moses. These included the 10 commandments and other laws, all designed for their betterment. Of course, God required them to live by these laws. Further, God provided for them manna and water, a cloud to protect them by day and a pillar of fire by night for the same. All the things needed to survive in the wilderness were provided liberally by the Lord, with the intention of preparing a people of war to possess the land of promise. However, in spite the wonderful provisions provided by God, the children of Israel died in the wilderness.
I always believed, as Dr. Bohac had taught, that it was not God’s plan for the children of Israel to spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness. A wilderness experience, yes, but a wilderness wandering leading to an unfulfilled and failed existence, never.
All Christians, regardless of what we might have been taught, must experience the heat of a wilderness experience to prepare us to fulfill God’s purposes. However, a wilderness wandering is only for those who are disobedient or who lack knowledge, understanding and wisdom of God’s perfect plan and purpose for their lives.
This book has been written to assist the believer in successfully traversing the wilderness experience. For many years, local churches have told new converts that there was a straight line to heaven, that when one was born again all would be perfect for the rest of life here on earth. This is a distortion of reality at best, a bold faced lie at worst. The church must stop denying the reality that Christians must go through a time of wilderness experience. The experience is subsequent to their deliverance from sin (bondage or Egypt). The wilderness experience is a part of the plan of God to transform our character, thus preparing his people to fully inherit the kingdom of God. We are able to fully inherit the promises that God has given to us as His children. The promises of God are tremendous, outlined throughout the Word of God. They include God’s provisions, his peace, joy, love, fulfillment, etc.
Stay Tuned for Part II