Wilderness, a Place For Temptation

(Luke 4)

Then YAHSHUA, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit for during forty days in the wilderness, where He was tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, He was hungry (Like 4:1,2). The devil came to YAHSHUA at the point of His need – hunger. Forty days and nights without eating can starve the body and lead it to death, that is, for some people, depending on their health factors. Forty days is long enough time for the body to have used all the resources it had to be sustained. YAHSHUA, as a man, was subject to the weakness of a human body, but not to man’s sinful nature. He was led to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted in preparation for the ministry He was going to fulfill. Like us, He was also subjected to temptations, and to the extent of sufferings that we experience. So after fasting forty days and forty nights, His obvious need of that moment was hunger. Hunger and thirst in the desert are something hard to overcome without having knowledge of how to survive in such environment which lacks everything that benefits the body. The Bible does not say if He went without water however, I assume so. Whatever the situation, He went hungry after forty days.

Crossing the Jordan River

(Deuteronomy 11:31)

When the Lord called Israel out of Egypt, He used Moses and Aaron his brother to lead the people to their Promised Land –Canaan. They were then a multitude of people that over the years grew from seventy when they first arrived in Egypt to over a million in the period of over 400 years. That happened according to the word of the Lord to Abraham when confirming His covenant: He said, know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs, and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years… On the fourth generation, they shall come back here [to Canaan] again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full and complete (Gen. 15:13, 16). In the span of time of 400 years Israel suffered as slaves in the land of Egypt, after Joseph had died and new Pharaohs came to power who did not know anything about him and his family. God heard their cry and used Moses to lead them back to Canaan, a journey that might have lasted only eleven days, took forty years.

Go Into the Plain and I Will Talk to You There

(Ezekiel 3:22-27)

The Prophet Ezekiel was one of the prophets who received from YAHWEH difficult tasks to represent the spiritual conditions of the nation Israel. He grew up in the environment of the temple, having been born in the priestly family. Unlikely some prophets, he grew up knowing the things of God firsthand.  He was only thirty years old when YAHWEH called Him while he was in the midst of idolatrous surroundings of Babylon. In chapter one of his book, he describes the vision given him. He starts by saying, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God (Ezekiel 1:1). After seeing the vision in its completeness, he was instructed in three things: to hear what YAHWEH was telling him; not to be like those rebellious people, and to eat the words given him. Meanwhile, the Lord warned him that the people were not going to listen to his message, for they were a rebellious nation. Ezekiel’s responsibility, however, was to warn them, listening or not, otherwise, he would be held responsible for the blood of that person. The instructions how to deliver YAHWEH’S message were difficult for one to follow. Ezekiel, however, had no complaint, except for one. He willingly did exactly what the Lord commanded Him. Arise, YAHWEH told him, go forth into the plain and I will talk with you there (Ezekiel 3:22b).

Picture of the Rapture

(Exodus 12)

The Lord’s deliverance of Israel before judgement fell on Egypt is a type of the rapture. In it we see the consistency of our God saving His people before judging nations. Israel had been in Egypt for 400- 430 years. From the time of famine in the land and their deliverance by their brother, Joseph, Israel never went back to Canaan. According to the words the Lord God spoke to Jacob, Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will there make of you a great nation; I will go down with you to Egypt and I will also surely bring you up again.. (Gen. 46:3-4).  In obedience, Jacob moved to Egypt with his family of seventy total.  That’s when the 430 years stated for Israel’s permanency in Egypt. Thirty years of freedom and 400 hundred years of slavery. That was to be fulfilled according to what God had told Abraham when covenanting with him (Gen.15:13). God said to Abram, Know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs, and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years (Gen. 15:13).

Strive To Enter By The Narrow Gate

(Luke 13:24-28)

Strive to enter by the narrow gate (door), for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house gets up and closes the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door saying, Lord, open to us! He will answer you, I do not know where you come from (Luke 13:24-25).

Strive to enter by the narrow gate is to force oneself through it. That shows how difficult a life of sanctification is. We must press hard upon it, making sure we do not carry anything extras. We can only do that by a self-denial life. The spirit is willing, said YAHSHUA, but the flesh is weak. Wanting to do good but doing the contrary was Paul’s frustration: For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am doing. Now if I do what I do not desire to do it is no longer I doing it, but the sin which dwells within me… For I endorse and delight in the Law of God I my inmost self, but I discern in my bodily members a different law at war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs (Rom. 7:18-.20, 22-23).

He knows Your Walking Through This Great Wilderness

(Deut. 2: 7, 36)

Life on earth is a wilderness filled with surprises at the moment our forefathers sinned. They had it so perfectly, but temptation took the best of them and life became what it is. They were thrown out of the garden, their comfortable and beautiful place to wander through the earth. Life became hard and challenging for them. They conceived the first murderer, who God marked with a sign, which no one knows what that was. Man’s blood line turned corrupted and iniquity traveled from generation to generation without end. So life here on earth is uncertain and full of surprises – good and bad. It is fast as a flower, springing in the morning and withering in the evening. In Psalm ninety Moses describes life in a nut shell: The days of our years are three-score years and ten or even, if by reason of strength, four score years; yet is their pride only labor and sorrow, for it is soon gone and we fly away. So teach us to number our days that we get us a heart of wisdom.

An Incredible Journey Foreshadowing the Future

Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph (Ex. 1:8). There is a lot to consider in this few words, for they take us to the beginning when Joseph was sold to an officer of Pharaoh as a slave. However, God was with him and through all his life in Egypt, he prospered to become second to the King. Finding favor with him, Joseph moved his family from Canaan to Egypt, where they stayed 430 years.  The Israelites, after so many years in that land, prospered and never returned to Canaan. That seemed to be the story of Israel throughout history after they were taken captives to another land. Not until pressure of persecution to the point of their death, do they return home, but not all. Let’s remember Hitler’s day. How many were killed? How many are still in that land today, including the whole of Europe? What will take them to realize the way home? History has being repeating itself over and over in the lives of Israel; today they call it anti-Semitism. After the slaughter of many of their ancestors in Hitler’s day Israel has said, “Never again.”  But it will not be so, until they go home.