Into the Wilderness
For many years the Lord has used the journey of the Children of Israel as a metaphor to speak to me about the Church. About ten years ago the Lord said “The Church is in Egypt”.
That puzzled me as I had been taught that Egypt represented a Christians life before they came to Christ. The Lord explained, “Egypt is My people in bondage”. As I heard those words, I realised that although we speak and sing of our freedom in Christ, for the majority of believers it is not yet a living reality. There are many, many believers still plagued with sickness, bondages and mental health issues.
The Children of Israel were under the oppression of slavery during their time in Egypt. They were oppressed and suffered under a heavy workload. When God sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh to deliver His people, He gave Moses these words:
“Then say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness.” Exodus 7:16
God wanted to bring them to a place of freedom from oppression and work so they could have the time and space to worship Him. He was seeking connection and intimacy with His chosen people. He intended for them to rest from their labour and meet with Him.
I recently heard the Lord say that the Church is now in the Wilderness. This is why the emphasis in this season is on resting and connecting. God is using this current environment to give His people rest from their labour. The oppression of performance brings us under slavery and we find ourselves with a hard taskmaster who drives us to build structures that don’t even belong in the Promised Land.
Many of us have been driven in our labour believing it is God who is driving us. We have been a part of this system for so long that it has become our “normal”. The Father is calling us out of this system of oppression and labour to come and worship Him. No agenda, no prayer list, no strategy on how to build our ministries and churches, just worship.
In this season there is something that the Father is releasing from Heaven and if we will cease from our works and position ourselves to receive, we will find ourselves being equipped with all we need to face the giants who have been inhabiting our Promised Land.
As I saw the Father releasing over the Earth, I heard a strong “Stop!!”. I could see leaders and ministers still focused on their work, on how to keep building in this hour and how to keep everything going. I knew in my heart that if they didn’t cease and position themselves to receive, they would miss this moment and find themselves not equipped for the next season.
When Moses led the Children of Israel into the wilderness, God’s intention was for each one of them to go up the mountain and meet with the Father. He longed for an intimate connection with each one and in the encounters with Him they would become giant slayers.
“but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32(b)
The word used for “know” above can also be translated “intimate friends”, “know for certain” or “know by experience”. Unfortunately, the children of Israel feared the presence of the Father and they sent Moses to go in their place. It was never God’s plan to have leaders stand in between the people of God and Himself. His desire is for intimacy with each of His children. The faith they needed to enter the Promised Land was to come from their time in His presence. When we see the bigness of our God, we can laugh in the face of giants.
In this current season the structure of church is unable to function. Is this a disaster or an opportunity? We can now get back to every individual simply coming before the Father as a beloved child. We don’t bring our works to Him, we bring our faith in our righteousness through Christ.
In this season we are to learn how to enter the “rest” of God which is spoken of in Hebrews 3. Faith in the finished work of Christ leads us into rest. Jesus said that He came to give us rest. Many in the church feel like the call of God on them brings a heavy burden and workload. Nothing is ever enough, there’s so much that needs to be done to fulfil the vision and care for the flock. If the burden is heavy and the yoke hard, it is not from Him!
God is taking advantage of this situation to get our attention. He is drawing us into His heart by inviting us to come and worship Him in the desert. He is setting us free from the oppression of slavery and preparing us to walk as sons and daughters of God. It is out of authority as sons and daughters of God that will see the giants fall.
Entrust all to Him and draw aside to receive all that He is releasing in this hour. It requires faith to enter this rest and it is this very faith that will possess the promised land.