Mixture in the church is one of the greatest enemies we have to true fruitfulness. Compromise is like mud: half earth, half water. The church has been flooded with the ways of the world—the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). We are too muddy to have a true foundation (Matt. 7:24-27). But God desires to gather the waters so that we can be delivered from our Egyptian bondage and grounded in his truth.
Like the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion, the third day of creation is the most pivotal. On this day life is created. And it’s a clear prophetic precursor to Israel’s salvation, a salvation that came through water and a subsequent journey through the wilderness. It was on creation’s third day that the waters were parted and the dry ground appeared. We see its similarity to Exodus 15:21-22: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left” (NKJV).
Israel experienced God’s life through the waters dividing; creation also experienced God’s life through the parting waters of the third day.
Paul likened the parting of the Red Sea to baptism: “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” (1 Cor. 10:1-2, NKJV). After they became like Moses, being drawn out of the waters (Moses means “drawn out”), they were brought into a dry land, a barren wilderness. They now needed to become like Moses in another way, becoming like shepherds in the desert. God ordained that their preparation for the fruitful Promised Land could only happen through the dry land. In this we learn God’s way: a person must be tested before they inherit God’s promises. The dry land is the foundation, the place where the work of meekness is accomplished. As Jesus taught, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the land (earth)” (Matt. 5:5, NKJV).
In the same way that Israel went through the wilderness after her baptism, Jesus was also sent into the wilderness after his baptism. Here Jesus is seen as the fulfilment of Israel:
“And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him” (Mark 1:10-13, NKJV).
Let me encourage you, the desert is the place where God prepares you for fruitfulness.
Only in this dry land do we learn to put our trust in God above, rather than things below. In the wilderness God moulds and makes us. He teaches us to resist temptation. He trains us into spiritual warriors––conquerors who will drive out the demonic forces in God’s fruitful land. After Jesus came from the wilderness he returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. He claimed the land of Israel as his own by healing the sick, casting out demons, cleansing the lepers and raising the dead. He went into every town and village demonstrating the power of the Kingdom (Matt. 9:35).
Prayer: Father, help me to see what you are doing when you are bringing me through the dry ground and the wildnerness. You only prune so that I will be more fruitful. You only take away so that you can give more. Thank you that you are working to build a solid, strong foundation in my life––not mere muddy waters.