What does the Wilderness in the Bible Represent?

The wilderness is often mentioned in the Bible to refer to times of hardship.  Everyone will face hardship in their life, but it’s this hardship that offers an opportunity to grow in your fruits of righteousness, establish and strengthen your faith and allow the power of the spirit to move in your life.

Main Point

This idea that because you are a Christian you’ll never go through hardship is false.  In fact, when you are doing the perfect will of God, there will be a lot of hard times before you, but that doesn’t mean you have to let the circumstances affect you. 

The Children of Israel, Elijah, Moses, David and even Jesus went through hard times and were all tested in their own wilderness experiences.  These men of God all had a choice to either stay in the wilderness and die (as the children of Israel did) or move on into the promised land of their own lives through faith. 

In this post, I want to just give a simple definition of what the Wilderness of the Bible represents.  

My Personal Story

I have to be honest with you.  Today’s blog post is straight from my own personal time with the Lord and the things He showed me.  Many times when you follow the will of God your life might not get easier but rather harder.  

Thank God we don’t have to stay in hard times.  It’s up to us to confess what the Word of God says over our situation and move into the promised land!

Our Primary Verse

2 Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 AMP

What does “The Wilderness” Represent? – Hardship

A wilderness experience is a time of testing to see if you will obey the commandments of the Lord or if you will complain and attempt to return to a place of bondage. 

These times of hardship come when we leave a place where we’ve been to go to someplace greater.  

These times of hardship come when we leave a place where we’ve been to go to someplace greater.  

Anytime you read of people going through a wilderness experience the Bible is talking about a time of testing to increase that person’s endurance of faith and grow their patience.

I’m reminded of this verse in James that talks about perseverance in the face of opposition (the wilderness).

2 Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 AMP

None of us are immune from times of testing because none of us are immune from times of growth. You’ve heard it said, “If you want results you’ve never seen before, you have to do stuff you’ve never done before!” 

Well if you want to grow your relationship with God to a new level you’re going to face opposition like you’ve never faced before. 

Remember you have an enemy – the devil – who is always trying to get you to think your situation is far worse than it seems.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1 Peter 5:8 KJV

There is an operative word in this verse “may devour”.  It’s up to us whether or not the devil devours us because our words will either make or break us. 

The Results of Hardship

Established and Strengthened in Faith

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1 Peter 5:10 KJV

The results of hardship when faced with the Word of God is that you will be established and strengthened in faith so that you can go in and take the land that God has given you!

Produce the Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Hebrews 12:11 KJV

Another result of hardship is to produce more fruit. Think about what Jesus said…

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

John 15:2 KJV

Your production of fruit will increase if you choose to remember that the Lord is faithful who promised.  He will never leave nor forsake you. 

Power of the Spirit

Jesus when He came out of the wilderness after being tested it says this…

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

Luke 4:14 KJV

It was only after He went through a time of immense pressure and testing that you can be mature enough to handle the place that the Lord wants to take you. 

If this was the case for Jesus, it will certainly be the case for us too. 

The Devil Tempts, but God Tests

It’s really important to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ never tempts us.  The devil and his kingdom are the author of all temptation.  

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

James 1:14 KJV 

It’s our flesh that is still corrupted by this world and its way of thinking that entices us to follow after things that are not of God.

What we are talking about today doesn’t apply to those who are walking after the flesh.  The reason they are facing hardship is because of their flesh not because of their spirit.  

That story about Jesus is so powerful because in Luke 4:1 it says, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Jesus was there because He was following God not his own will.

I wrote a blog post a while ago about this topic called Two Types of Storms. You should check it out.

Wrapping Things Up

There is so much to be said about this topic and I’ve only scratched the surface.  I want to leave you with this verse.  

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV 

You have a free will and God wants to know what you’re going to do with it when the going gets tough.  Just like the children of Israel couldn’t face the wilderness until they came out of Egypt, so too none of this applies to you or me if we’re still stuck in bondage to sin.

You can be set free from sin, bondage and hardship

Maybe you’ve never made Jesus the Lord of your life, or maybe you haven’t been living for Him recently.  You’re certainly going through hardship but not this type.  You’re still stuck as a slave to sin to serve it.

But there’s good news!  The Bible says…

36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:36 KJV

Jesus, the Son of God, will make you free when you call upon Him today.

You don’t have to be perfect to come into the family.  Simply believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. You have to believe that Jesus raised from the dead and sits alive today at the right hand of God. 

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13 KJV

All you have to do is pray this prayer. 

Jesus I believe you died on the cross and rose again 3 days later.  I accept you as my Lord and Savior right now and ask you to come into my heart.  Be the Lord of my life. I will honor and obey you from this day forward.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Prayer of Salvation

If you prayed that prayer for the first time, congratulations!  You are now in the family of God and free from your burden of sin. Now it’s important to learn what just happened to you so that you can continue to grow. 

I want to help you with this.  Make sure to email me at [email protected] and I will send you some information and talk with you about what just happened.