There is nothing quite like wilderness camping. getting away from the hustle and busyness of everyday, the distraction of technology, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I had the opportunity once to camp in the boundary waters of Minnesota — what beautiful country that is. As we prepared for that trip, we were limited as to what we could bring because the campsites were only accessible by canoe. We had to plan what we would need for the week and prioritize our packing. Whatever resources we would need for the week we had to bring in with us.
Usually when you think of going into the wilderness, you think of what resources you need to bring in, not what resources you will bring out. However, as I read about the life of Christ, I find that He spent much time in the wilderness and, it was for the resources He would bring out.
Luke 5:16 says this, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
The wilderness is the place where Christ would go to get alone with the Father and pray. The wilderness was the place where He would go to get the strength and power He needed for His earthly work and ministry. If Christ needed that time in the wilderness for His ministry, how can you and I expect to accomplish any eternal work without it?
As you read Luke chapter 5, you will see there are three resources Jesus brought back from the wilderness that we need and that can only be found in the wilderness.
In verse 17 you find Jesus teaching. Sitting there listening to Him were Pharisees and doctors of the law. If you are going to teach men whose lives were dedicated to knowing the law, you are going to have to have substance. Jesus had substance that went beyond just a knowledge of the law; He had the power of God on His message in a way that fed the hearts and souls of men. In Luke 4 verses 31 and 32, you read: “And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” That power with which Jesus taught was the substance that brought the multitudes to hear His message.
If you and I are going to help the multitudes we have to have substance in our message. Substance can only come from time in the wilderness alone in the Word of God and on our knees. I wonder how many times someone has come to us for help only to find we had no substance to offer them? Let’s go to the wilderness and bring back substance.
The last phrase of Luke 5:17 says “and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” That supernatural power comes only through time in the wilderness with God. We live in a day that needs to see God’s power like never before. We need to see God’s power on men and ministries to make a difference across our nation and our world.
You may ask, is that supernatural power available today? Yes it is! John 14:12 tells us “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” And then in Jeremiah 33:3 we read, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” In Ephesians 3:20, Paul writes, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” There is supernatural power available to us through God that can only be found in the wilderness.
Strength for the Battle
As you continue to read through the remainder of Luke 5 you find that Jesus is under the attack of the Scribes and Pharisees. This attack continues throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry until ultimately they hang Him on the cross. The third resource I found that Jesus brought back from the wilderness was strength for the battle. This Christian life is going to have battles. If we do anything for Christ there is going to be opposition. The strength that we need for the battle we will get from time in the wilderness with God.
Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12, “ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” And then in II Corinthians he writes “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.” Spiritual warfare and spiritual battles are part of the Christian life. Satan will bring the war to your home, your faith, your attitude, and your marriage. In our strength we will lose the war every time, but in God’s strength found in the wilderness there is victory.
We live in a busy society that will pull us in every direction, but in the midst of the hustle and bustle you have to find time to get alone with God—you need a wilderness.