ENTERING INTO THE KINGDOM
When Yahweh called His people to Himself, He called them into a separation from the world and all its influences, by delivering them from the bondage and slavery of the world-system in Egypt. According to His divine purposes, He had allowed them to enjoy growth and prosperity in the land of Egypt in the peaceful environment of Goshen, separate from, yet under the protection and care of, the dominion of Egypt (a type of the world).
As time went on, the later generations began to lose sight of their calling and their commission to be merely sojourners in this foreign land and they began to intermingle with the residents of the land socially and culturally. A process of assimilation began with some of them giving respect to the gods of Egypt and their lifestyle. By this time, a Pharaoh had arisen which did not know Joseph or his God, and being under the dominion of the god of this world, this Pharaoh began to execute the enemy's hatred toward His people, Israel., and oppress them and force them into slavery.
Yahweh allowed this to take place so that they would experience in their flesh, the opposition of the enemy to His kingdom purposes and know the true nature of the god of this world. Although in the world, they had not been of the world, or under its system when they went there. They had lived separately in the land of Goshen and kept themselves as a people set apart unto Yahweh their God. They were a peculiar people and foreigners to the Egyptians. While they maintained the separation, they were under His protection, but when they began to look upon the ways of the world around them, the hedge of protection was broken down and the god of this world had legal rights to bring them under His control – and so the process of oppression began which Yahweh used to bring them back to Himself.
In the grief of their oppression from the enemy, they called out to Yahweh for deliverance and He sent them Moshe to bring them out of the land of Egypt (the world-system in which they lived). In effect, He brought them out of the kingdom of darkness, out of bondage and slavery into freedom, to take them to the promised land, the land purposed to be His kingdom upon earth. There was a due process instigated in their deliverance.
Initially Yahweh demonstrated for them and for Egypt, His power and dominion over all creation, exposing the powerlessness of Pharaoh, and the gods of Egypt and the spiritual principalities which operated through them (Exodus 7-11). This established for the Israelites and for the Egyptians who was truly God and worthy of worship. In the last plague, because they had by that time separated themselves from the gods of Egypt, Yahweh established that Israel was His First-born son (Ex.4:22; & ch11). It was only in their complete separation from the idols of this world that Yahweh 'owned' them before the god of this world (Pharaoh) – Luke 9:8-9. The next thing that was instituted was His holy calendar (Exodus 12:1-2) and the commencement of the observance of His appointed Feasts (Exodus 12:3-20). It is understood that Israel had kept the ordinance of circumcision which symbolised their separation unto Him in Covenant relationship. Others who came to faith in Yahweh as God from among the nation of Egypt or from among their hired servants, were instructed to be circumcised (Ex.12:43-49). [circumcision was an enactment of a blood covenant in their own flesh which was a dedication of every aspect of their life and offspring to Yahweh]
Then in a fresh commitment, they had to take the lamb of their redemption, and apply its blood to their door-posts – this was an open declaration of whom they served. It was an act of faith in Yahweh's covenant -keeping promise to deliver them and it demonstrated that they were laying their life down for Him. Their life depended upon His promise, as there was a death penalty upon the practice of animal sacrifices in the land of Egypt at that time (Ex.8:25-27).
Their commitment was to be in an all-night vigil, which required them to go as they were – dressed ready, waiting for the signal. There was no time to leaven their bread – they ate the pure grain (a type of the Word) as it was, without any adulteration for seven days, symbolising the unadulterated pure Word of God (Ex.12:15). This exercise of feeding on the Word without the contaminating influence of the atmosphere of this world (to leaven it), was to wean them from the 'food' of this world, which is infiltrated by the lies which the enemy propagates as to what will give 'life'. Satan gained his dominion in the beginning (in Eden) through the deception as to what 'food' would give true life (Gen.2). True freedom is based on knowing the truth, which is His Word (John 8:31-36, 44).
To be a 'free' people, they needed to be liberated from the influence of the world (Egypt). For this purpose, Yahweh did not take them directly into the promised land, He took them by a route which required them to go into the wilderness, completely separated from that which the world provides, and separated unto and dependent upon Him. Their 'flesh' had to be dealt with before they could receive the promised inheritance
THE WILDERNESS PROCESS
“And you shall remember that Yahweh your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you and allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know: not did your fathers know, that He might make you to know that man shall not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Yahweh.” Deuteronomy 8:1-32
Being in the wilderness caused them to be dependent upon Him; and as well as humbling them, it tested their faith in and their commitment to Him. The wilderness deprived them of the ability to do their own thing, go their own way and satisfy the various lusts of their flesh. To go outside of the covering protection of the cloud by day, meant being subject to the scorching heat of the desert and to all its perils – vipers and scorpions etc., so they had to move when the Cloud moved, and stay when it stopped. They had to eat what He provided, or complain ...... , which they did!
The wilderness provided an ideal environment to grow closer to Him because it was without the distractions of the world and every day was an opportunity to see His miraculous provision for them and His loving care of them. But they rebelled and vexed His holy Spirit for they were unfaithful to their covenant commitment.
The wilderness provided the test so that what was in their heart would surface.
Did He need to take them that way to see what was in their heart?
Yes! because although He did perceive their fleshly nature, there is always the choice factor, as to whether we will bring our flesh into subjection and obey, or not. It is only under tests and trials that we are given the opportunity to exercise our will and choose to deny our fleshly, self-nature and to express our devotion and commitment to Him, above all else. That is the time when our hearts are revealed and that is the means whereby our heart is purified.
“In this you greatly rejoice (in our kingdom inheritance), though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour and glory at the revelation of Yeshua Messiah, whom having not seen you love ....” [fire is the means whereby metals such as gold are purified] (1 Peter 1:6-8)
Is our heart in such covenant relationship with Him that we will choose to deny our flesh and live in dependence upon Him, obeying His commands and thereby being faithful to our covenant with Him?
“Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which I swore to your fathers. “ (Deuteronomy 8:1)
He did not allow them to possess the land until their flesh had died in the wilderness. They could not go into the land until they were walking by faith in Him and had been renewed in their fleshly minds. (Numbers 14:26-29; 26:64-65)
“Today, if you will hear My voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways. So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.”
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'today', lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Messiah IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end' Hebrews 3:8-14
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:19)
Their unbelief, or lack of faith in Him and in His Word (His promises), caused them to make the wrong choices and instead of keeping their commitment to Him, they allowed their flesh to dominate their minds and they rebelled. “Let us therefore be diligent to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11) “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the Cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptised into Moses in the Cloud and in the sea; all ate the same spiritual food, and all ate the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them,and that Rock was Messiah. But with some of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things were written for our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as some of them.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-7)