As Passover approached this year, I couldn’t help but think about the desert. After all, at Passover, God brought the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt. Next, they fled into the desert, where God provided life-sustaining bread (manna), as well as quail and water. For protection and guidance, God became a cloud pillar by day, and a fire by night, shielding them from their enemies. In the desert God also provided the tabernacle so they could be cleansed of their sins through sacrificial offerings. Furthermore, he gave the Israelites the Law, which included the Ten Commandments.
Of course, the Israelites’ stay in the desert was much longer than anticipated–certainly, forty years is a lengthy time to wander in a harsh, dry environment. This prolonged period of wandering was the direct result of their lack of belief in God’s Word and his promises.
How did that happen?
The 12 spies had been sent into the Promised Land to survey the area and report back to the rest of the people. Even though God had assured them that under his guidance and supernatural protection the land would be theirs, they would not believe this promise. Instead, they let fear rule their hearts and minds. Ten of the spies gave a bad report and the people believed it.
Numbers 13:26-33 gives the details of their unbelief:
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
The people “raised their voices” and “wept aloud” when they heard this news. Their faith shriveled up like a plant without water. It didn’t matter how many miracles they had witnessed through God’s mighty hand. Their focus was on what was seen, heard and reported. They were worried about the size and power of the enemies in the land. They couldn’t see past this.
The ten spies who gave the bad report were struck down with a plague. The two faithful spies–Joshua and Caleb–were spared because they tried to convince the people to reject fear and assured them that God had given them the land. Even though giants roamed around, they were no match for God’s power and promises.
After the people refused to believe, God was angry at their unfaithfulness. He was ready to be done with them. But Moses interceded and God made a decision–anyone twenty years old or more would not enter the Promised Land at the end of the forty years of wandering. Their children, however, would enter it under the faithful leadership of Joshua and Caleb.
Numbers 14:29-35 gives the details:
In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.”
The unbelieving generation had to die off because they would not walk by faith– instead, they walked by sight. It’s true God could have given this generation another chance. Maybe their faith would change in the long years of wandering. But God knew their hearts. He knew that no matter how many miracles they saw, they would not take hold of the truth of his promises. Thus, these people would die in the desert.
Do you see any parallels to life in 2023!
I can see lots of connections–so many that it would take ten blog posts to cover it all. So, I’ll keep it short. Perhaps, you will make your own connections.
For myself, I can definitely see bits and pieces of my life within this story.
For one thing, I often have a hard time seeing beyond what’s in front of my face. I feel like every single day I am facing opposition and sometimes it’s hard to avoid giving a bad report to others, or to myself. It easier to focus on what I see happening with my eyes.
Nonetheless, the Lord has shown me so many miracles throughout my life. In fact, he shows me the amazing proof of his mighty hand all the time!
If I wrote everything down, I would have an entire library of these big and small miracles.
Yet, I still find myself grumbling.
I hear myself complaining.
I end up in fits of crying.
In desperation, I eat an entire pan of brownies!
Because I’m looking with my earthly eyes at the here and now, instead of looking spiritually at the greater plan Jesus has for me!
Even though Jesus has given me great encouragement in all areas of my life, I sometimes forget this, becoming one of those spies who gives a BAD REPORT!
Luckily, I have Joshuas and Calebs in my life that bring me back to the truth. Of course, Jesus is so generous because he always pulls me out of the dark pit so I can see the light again.
Truthfully, the world is like one big desert right now. We are living in a time where it’s hard to see anything but a wasteland of morality. Just turn on your TV or go on social media to get a glimpse. Unfortunately, most leaders in power are in league with the enemy. You can’t trust government agencies, school systems, or healthcare. People are more interested in taking selfies than following the commandments of God. They are more interested in going on their next cruise, than seeking the Lord.
Yet within the desert, there is still hope.
Recently, I began collecting succulents (desert plants) as well as different kinds of cactus. These wonders of God’s creation are quite amazing and beautiful. Here are some pictures from my collection:
Here are some facts you may or may not know about succulents:
· They don’t require much water–in fact, if you over-water, you could kill them, causing their roots to rot.
· They can survive long, dry seasons that would kill most plants.
· They live in some of the harshest environments on earth and there are varieties that can survive freezing temperatures.
· They thrive in the sun. A waxy coating protects their leaves, acting as a sunscreen.
· Even though they are a desert plant, they come in many colors of the rainbow, from blue to purple to orange and red.
· They are resistant to pests/bugs.
· You can grow a whole new succulent from a leaf. If your succulent loses a juicy leaf, just plant it in the dirt and viola, you can grow a new one!
· Some succulents can be eaten, or used as medicinal remedies.
While caring for my succulents I realized a few things. we draw closer to God when we are in the desert. This strengthens our reliance on him.
Succulents can survive with just a small dose of water and still thrive in the desert sun. Every bit of water they take in gets stored in their juicy leaves. Because of this, they can survive in conditions that would kill most plants.
During the worst (desert) times in my life, there was nothing to comfort me in the natural. Even a million dollars wouldn’t fix the problem. Yummy treats, vacations and buying new clothes helped temporarily. But it didn’t last. Ultimately, it was the Word of God and Jesus that pulled me through. The Word that was stored in my heart reminded me of his promises.
Jesus–The Living Water- stretched out his hand to lift me up. Like the succulents I was growing, all I really needed was a dose of water and the SON.
If you’re a Christian, you probably feel like you’re in a dry season when it comes to living in the world. Truthfully, this desert season could last a while.
As we face the rise of a national digital currency, threats to the food system and the lawless agendas of world governments, we may find ourselves in a precarious position. We will have to adapt by DOING A LOT WITH JUST A LITTLE.
Like the succulents which thrive on little water, we may have to do away with the luxuries (OH PLEASE, NOT MY COFFEE!) and draw closer to Jesus. When a digital currency system (Central Bank Digital Currency) arrives, we will need to resist. Though it could start out as voluntary, the longer we say no and do not opt in, the longer it will take for it to become mandatory. All of this will likely coincide with the institution of a digital ID, which would be a dangerous combination.
Resisting this digital system will likely mean that we cannot do business with certain retailers, stores or companies that have jumped on board. Because of this, we will be limited in what we can buy. We will no longer have access to certain services.
But, if we know that Jesus can do a lot with just a little, we can have faith that we will thrive.
Certainly, we don’t want to be like the doubting Israelites who grumbled and complained that they couldn’t survive in the Promised Land. Even if things look grim, we must be like the beautiful succulents that blossom and grow in the harshest conditions.
Yeah, that might mean eating peanut butter for dinner three days in a row. Or maybe it will be beef jerky and Spam instead. We may have to forgo that amazing vacation, or the convenient deliveries of Amazon.
Back in the summer of 2019, I visited Joshua Tree National Park in California. This was about six months before the Covid pandemic hit the world. While I was there, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me that a huge dry season was coming and I’d better get ready. Because of this, I paid close attention to my desert environment, looking for any clues that would help me better understand this message.
Interestingly enough, I was surprised to find that the desert was gorgeous! Yeah, it was hot and dry, but it was just breathtaking. The sun was beating down on me, but the scenery was awesome. See picture below.
Joshua Tree National Park is famous for its Joshua trees. Early travelers wandering through the area thought the trees looked like an outstretched hand that was guiding them forward. This reminded them of the biblical Joshua who guided the Israelites through the Promised Land. Of course, this was done through the power of God’s mighty hand.
Actually, Joshua trees aren’t really “trees”– they are succulents, under the classification of yucca. These slow-growing, long-living “trees” can survive on very little water. There are thousands of them scattered throughout the park, featuring their prominent hand-like branches.
While I was in Joshua Tree National Park, I kept hearing a word of encouragement from the Holy Spirit which said, “I will deliver you with an outstretched hand.” Of course, this is what God said to the Israelites when they were delivered from slavery at Passover. He repeated this message as he guided them through the desert. When the Holy Spirit laid this upon my heart in 2019, I wasn’t sure of the details. I just sensed that something BIG was coming. But no matter how it played out, Jesus would provide guidance and pull me through. His outstretched hand would lead the way.
And you know what? When the time came, Jesus held out his hand and I took hold of it!
I was able to resist and reject the lies of the Covid PLAN-demic when it hit the entire world. This was the BIG thing the Holy Spirit was warning me about in the desert of Joshua Tree National Park.
Even though the Covid madness has slowed down, its tentacles stretch around the globe, creating new ways to take our God-given freedoms.
Yet like the Joshua Trees with their outstretched branches (arms), I KNOW that Jesus is going to take care of me.
Yes, the world looks like one giant bad report.
But we DO NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE THE lies OF THE ENEMY– we must not believe THEIR bad REPORT!
The truth is that these globalist leaders and organizations are very much like the giants that the 12 spies saw in the Promised Land. But even with giants in the land, the Israelites had what they needed to thrive and survive. They had GOD.
With Jesus, there is always a GOOD, HOPEFUL report.
Newsflash! Jesus wins– it doesn’t matter what things look like out there in the desert. We are going to enter the Promised Land–either through death (that really isn’t death if we know Christ as Lord and Savior- it is actually eternal life!), or at the Rapture. Jesus will come back to earth and revive this giant desert, and it will bloom like a rose.
Until then, the giants are roaming through the desert. They are big and a bit smelly too! But look past this! Instead, resist evil in the land and look to Jesus for your strength and guidance. Take hold of his mighty hands and you will make it!!!!
Have a blessed Passover! Below is a picture of me in Joshua Tree National Park….
Jesus is with you in the desert.
This year PASSOVER begins at sundown on April 5 and ends at sundown on April 13, 2023.
In addition, if you haven’t read this yet, check out this story about a raven that God used to remind me of his provision. LINK HERE……ravens are awesome desert survivors……