The blazing sun scorched the back of his neck, as the Son of the Living God seared the palms of his hands picking a handful of sand while praying it was instead, cool, life-nourishing water. It wasn’t! Following Jesus’ baptism, God bellowed from beyond the clouds affirming Jesus as his Beloved Son and telling everyone present that he was very pleased with him. Then, immediately after, God sent his Beloved Son into the wilderness for 40 days. Wandering for miles east of the Jordan River, Jesus would be tempted by the devil, fight his own inner demons, and prepare for his upcoming ministry. Jesus withstood the temptations the devil placed before him and God sent angels to comfort him. Furthermore, God had set in motion a mission for Jesus that would end with the cross. Now, more than ever, Jesus was prepared to tackle this important and taxing mission.
In a very identical and intentional parallel, the Israelites were forced to wander in their own wilderness, nearly 1500 years earlier. Also east of the Jordan River, only for 40 years instead of 40 days, they too were tried and tempted in order to prepare for God’s promises. Forty years of murmuring and complaining. Forty years of war and survival. Forty years of protection, provision, and preparation. Once God was finished cleansing the Israelites and preparing them for his fulfilled promises, they were finally ready to embrace everything God had prepared for them and to providentially exceed even their own expectations. The wilderness is essential to the love story of God and his beloved! Prior to embracing our divine calling, we are all forced to battle our demons and prepare for God’s promises. This preparation, amongst the wildernesses of life, can be extremely daunting and our faith is wrung through some of the most torturous testing devices. This devotion delivers a simple, yet consequential resource where followers of the Beloved Son of God, can venture back to those days when God’s people wandered through the wilderness and were tested in preparation for their Promised Land. Here, we can also reflect on our own wilderness experiences and discover how God is preparing each and every one of his Beloved Children for their own Promised Land—God’s divine purpose for their lives. Each one of the 40 days includes the following: Today’s Passage: This is the Scripture reading for that particular devotional and is one passage from the books of Exodus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy. Please use your favorite translation and read the passage at your own leisure. Take time to engross yourself in the passage. Today’s Verse: This is the key Bible verse for the day’s devotional. The key Bible verse encompasses the main point of the message and passage. Today’s Thoughts: This is a relatable and applicable story from the life or mind of the author. After reading the passage and reflecting on his God, the author wrote down his thoughts, confessions, and applications. Today’s time with Yahweh: This provides you with some statements or questions upon which you can reflect, meditate, or journal. Feel free to write down your thoughts on a separate piece of paper, a notebook, or simply spend some time in quiet meditative thought. This is your time with Yahweh…use it in a way that is most comfortable and applicable for you and your own spiritual journey. After a few weeks reading and pondering some of the struggles God’s people endured in the wilderness, you will come to a new understanding regarding your own trials and how they relate to God and God’s purpose for your life. Yahweh sends his beloved children into the wilderness for a reason. Hopefully this devotion will shed some light on why you’re experiencing some of the things you’re experiencing, and how you can endure those trials and come out at the end…on the shores of the Jordan…ready to embrace all the promises God has in store for you.