In the Wilderness December 11-15
The wilderness is different from the valley. A “wilderness experience” is often a time of intensified temptation and spiritual attack. It can involve a spiritual, financial, or emotional drought. This experience is not necessarily a sign that a believer is sinning, but rather a time of God-ordained testing. While the wilderness can be lonely, it allows us to focus and to pray. It gives us perspective. It can be a place to indulge in a pity party, or it can be a venue that solidifies our soul. What might seem like your worst moment may, in fact, be a watershed moment when God does something that changes your life forever. Even in the wilderness, we can find peace in Christ. Ask Jesus to help you see it as the gift of depending on Him.
Day 1 1 Kings 19:1-8
Reflect: What do you learn about God from Elijah’s experience? About humans, and our relationship with God? How was Elijah being spiritually attacked? What was the basis of it?
Apply: How do you relate to Elijah? When and how has fear overtaken you? To where was Elijah running? To where do you run in times like this?
Pray: Lord, help me quiet myself before You to hear You speak direction, peace, and hope to my heart. Thank You that You care so much that You will stoop to personally talk to me.
Day 2 Mark 1:9-13
Reflect: What do you think about the timing of Jesus being sent into the wilderness? What was the purpose of Him being sent? Compare this text with Day 1. What do you notice?
Apply: Would you say your wilderness experiences have been more your doing or God’s? Why? How did God minister to you? What did you learn that will help you in the future?
Pray: Father, You lead me to the wilderness to heal me, change me, and reveal Yourself to me. I rely on Your promise to never abandon me and Your willingness to provide for me.
Day 3 Genesis 16:1-13
Reflect: What do you learn about God and about people? How does this story speak to your heart? Who do relate to more, Sarai, Hagar, or Abram? Why?
Apply: When have you tried to “rn away” after being hurt or wounded? What helped you “return”? In what ways have you experienced El Roi, the God Who Sees?
Pray: El Roi, nothing is hidden from Your eyes. Thank You that You hear my prayers and understand my needs. Open my eyes that I might recognize You at work in my life.
Day 4 Genesis 21:8-20
Reflect: Comparing the text from Day 3, what is different/similar in this wilderness experience? Who did God hear crying? Why is this significant? Whose “wilderness” is this? Why?
Apply: What truths do you see? How does trust play a role in this story? How has trust helped you in wilderness experiences? Was trust in the midst of the experience, or only in hindsight? How has a wilderness event changed you for good?
Pray: Lord, don’t let my problems blind me to Your provisions. You are the God Who is “able.” Teach me to submit to You with trust and confidence, no matter my situation.
Day 5 1 Chronicles 16:1-36
Reflect: How does this song apply to experiencing the wilderness times, like Elijah’s, Hagar’s, and Ishmael’s? Which of these characteristics of God do you relate to most?
Apply: How can these words help you in the wilderness? Are there verses you need to put to memory? How can your testimony of God’s attributes help others in the wilderness?
Pray: Lord, what great hope surrounds Christmas when the eternal God became the perfect man, born as a baby to die on a cross for the sins of the world. Open the eyes of the lost to Your love and to their real need of Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Put It Into Practice!
Week 4: In the Wilderness
A “wilderness experience” is often a time of intensified temptation and spiritual attack. Reflect on the enemy’s lies with which you struggle most, and the temptations that are hardest to overcome. Invite God to help you get to the root of the issues so He can help you pull the root out. Ask the Holy Spirit for God’s truths that will overcome the lies.