About Us - Publications - Broadcasts - Audio & Video - Contact Us - Home

- Broadcasts -

Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1277

Why the Wilderness?

March 26, 2017

Return to Transcripts

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1277 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Oh, what was it that transformed Paul? It was that light, shined right past all the Devil’s defenses and it went right into his heart, and all of a sudden, this self-righteous Jew saw himself as the worst of sinners! And it just cut into his heart! It took away all of his pride and his defense, and he just…oh, it was if…it was, God, how could you possibly forgive somebody like me?

I’ll tell you, that’s the ultimate abandonment of our illusions of goodness. It’s when God can strip us of our defenses and show us why we need a Savior! So forever and ever, we are disabused of the notion that we have something to contribute to God, that there’s some goodness in us to which He’s responding.

Oh, I tell you what, we have a doorway of hope that’s been opened, but it isn’t open to those who think they can deserve it in any way. It’s open to those who are willing to humble themselves before this mighty God and say, oh God, You are right and I am wrong.

Oh, you think about David and his heart and his prayer. All of a sudden, it came to his attention. God somehow convicted him in a time of amazing blindness, when he had committed a terrible, atrocious sin that had led to another and led to another and led to another, and there he was, oblivious to it! God looked him in the eye and said, “Thou art the man.” (KJV). And instead of rising up and using his kingly powers to say, how dare you say that to me! Off with your head! God cut into his heart because he was a man after God’s own heart.

And when God showed him his need, there was immediate falling on his face. When he prayed, you read it in Psalm 51, he didn’t excuse it. He didn’t say, that woman shouldn’t have been bathing like that. He didn’t say anything in his own defense. He said, oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner from the moment I was born...that is in me. You’re completely right. You’re 100 percent right, and I’m 100 percent wrong. But oh, I look to You for mercy. Cleanse me—cleanse me.

Did the Lord do it? Yeah. It’s what He’s looking for. But oh, I tell you what, those that just are come and excuse, and try to pretty up and…okay, I messed up, Lord, but here it is. It’s because of them. It’s because of this. It’s because of that. If You hadn’t put me in this situation, I wouldn’t have reacted like that.

Why do think the Lord put you in that situation? Because He knew that was in you and He wants to get it out, wants to bring it out into the open! Let’s bring the ugly! Let’s bring the ugliness of our hearts out where we can see it at least! I don’t mean go out and rob banks or something! I’m talking about…God will do what it takes to bring out what is in us!

And oh, what He’s looking for is the same heart that David had. And you know, David came to the place where he didn’t wait for God to show him stuff. He said, “Search me…and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Boy, I challenge everyone here, whether you come to Christ or not, to pray that kind of a prayer. Do you dare? Do you dare to do that? Say, Lord, I don’t want to walk in an illusion. I live in a world that’s deceived. People think they’re good. People think they can bop their way through life and confess Jesus in some superficial way and they’re gonna go to Heaven like they are. I don’t want to be fooled.

This is a world where you can see the talons of Lucifer tightening its grip on the minds of men. There isn’t a day goes but what the headlines don’t get worse and worse and worse, and more and more revealing of what’s going on. I don’t want to be part of that. God, I want You! And I want…the price of wanting You is just being totally open and honest, because You see everything about me. You know what’s wrong! Lead me in a way that will help me to know it!

And then when I come face to face with where my will is lined up against Yours, help me to always take the position of letting go—letting my way go! And when You show me my sinfulness, help me not to run from it and hide from it, and try to pretend it isn’t so, and explain it away and blame it away! But just say, oh Lord, this is not about anybody else. This is not about what’s happened to me. This is about me and my need.

But this is also about the amazing love that You showed to me by taking all of this that I see and I feel, and charging Your Son with every bit of it, and allowing Him to be tortured to death so that I can come to You, and that guilt can be gone! The moment I surrender and take that place, that rightful place before Your throne, and my faith moves from me to Him….

You see that’s the problem of human beings. Our faith is in us. My will is better than His. I’m smarter than He is. I know better what’s good for me. I know what I want. He doesn’t really care. We have a thousand ways of asserting self and putting our hope and our trust in ‘us.’ That’s what it boils down to. I’ll tell you, we’ve got to come to a place where our trust is not in us.

( congregational amens ).

We have no confidence in our flesh, in our old nature, is what Paul was talking about in Philippians 3. No confidence in it! I have all the confidence in the world in Him, because He’s shown me what He’s like. He’s shown me in the death of His Son for my salvation. And oh, I have the privilege of learning from Him as I go. So I don’t know, if you’re in this place, though, that Paul talked about in 1st Corinthians 10. They all went out and they all followed Moses, and some of them didn’t make it. Why?

( congregational response ).

Because there was something in their heart that they held on to more than trusting God, more than humbling themselves and surrendering. And God’s not gonna bless rebellion. It’s that simple. But oh, how He blesses humility and humbling ourselves before Him. Oh, how He blesses it! Praise God! Praise God! I want to be in that place.

But if you or someone who happens to hear this, finds yourself in that place where you’re just not there, I dare you to pray and ask God to show you the truth. Ask God to give you an understanding. Say, God, I don’t understand, but I want to. Show me the truth. Reveal Christ to me. If you ever see Him in the light of Him, you will see you, and you will know what this is about.

But you know, there comes that time for each one who comes into His kingdom, who’s born into His kingdom, of that new life that He gives us, where we do come to a place of humbling ourselves and committing our lives into His hands. And it’s real! But how many of you have found out that it’s just a smooth flow from there? Oh, there are never any battles, never any controversies, never any struggles.

No! It’s like Kenny Wilkinson and I were talking this morning, and he was pointing out that it’s one thing to come to that place of surrender. It’s another to see that worked out in our lives. That’s a whole lot of what the wilderness journey was, because the people who had faith still went through all this. They just saw it through different eyes.

But oh, I was thinking about this the other day. We know that scripture in 1st Peter, chapter 5 where we’re told to humble ourselves under His mighty hand. The King James language says, “…that he may exalt you in due time.” Well, some of us are…you know, sometimes we get to the place where, okay, God, I did that. So when’s this exaltation coming?

( laughter ).

You know, I’m tired of that. Let’s see some of the other. But you know, the exaltation He’s talking about is not lifting us up in pride. It’s not groveling or pretending to be humble, so now it’s okay to be proud. That’s not what exaltation means. He’s talking about lifting us up, but we’re different when we’re lifted up. It’s not us that are being lifted up and our pride being on exhibit. It’s the humility that allows God to live in us and to work through us.

And Moses would surely be a prime example of a man who was mighty in word and deed, spent 40 years losing all of that, came back as the meekest man on the face of the earth. God humbled him! God taught him, took all of that self-reliance out of him, and then exalted him to one of the highest places in all of history!

But he was so…he had been so molded and so changed by submitting to all those circumstances, that it did not rejuvenate all that pride. He was a…he remained a humble man. A lot of times, his brother Aaron had to speak for him. When they came against him, he didn’t rage back. He didn’t rise up like Charlton Heston, and look down his nose at them like he’s some great, mighty prophet. He was a meek and humble man.

But oh the power of God that was able to move through that man. God changed him. When he was lifted up, he was lifted up in a way that it was different.

How many of you know what that’s about in some areas of your life? You know God’s helped you. You know God’s worked on you and brought you down, but then later on He’s begun to bring you up, and you experience, you just taste a little bit. Hey, praise God! I can do things that I didn’t know I could do. I can stand up to situations. God’s working on me. He’s changed me. And He’s lifted me up, and He’s actually, He gave something through my lips that helped somebody. Praise God!

That’s what the Lord is working on in every single one of us. And so that’s how this applies to a lot of us here today…that we’re in situations we didn’t choose! We are on a kind of wilderness journey where God is bringing us to that place of dependence that we fight! I mean, our instinct, plan A, for us is to fight against any notion that we need real fixing. We come to a place of blessing, and the Lord blesses and meets with us, and we think, whew! I made it. I’m here. How many of you have been in places like that and then all of the sudden, it starts again, and you say, whoops?

( congregational response ).

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

And all of a sudden, stuff comes out. Oh, I didn’t like that. You don’t want to admit it. You want to blame. You want to do…to have all the natural reactions…of anger, it shouldn’t be this way. Boy, you know, that’s where anger comes from. It’s just me not being able to have my own way. And I’ll tell you, the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God, does it?

( congregation inaudible ).

We need to have…and only God can help us to do this, but we need the same Spirit that was in Jesus Christ, who had such a perfect trust in His Heavenly Father. He didn’t fight for Himself. He let God fight His battles. And I’ll tell you, we have a God who will fight our battles. But He’s gonna send us in ways that bring out all the things in us that are wrong with us, everything where I need His mercy, I need His help.

And how many times do we come through those kinds of valleys, those kinds of challenges where something else comes along, and it’s difficult, and we struggle, and we strive, and we complain, and we blame, and we have all those natural reactions. And there’s just such unrest. Sometimes there’s anger about the situation. There are so many different reactions that we tend to have. Discouragement…what’s God doing to me now? Why did this happen?

And all God is looking for is a surrender and a trust and a looking to Him. What do we get out of that? Peace…a sense of rest. Oh, I tell you, how many times do we go through things and our initial reaction is so negative, and we’re just fighting against it? And then we fight and we fight and, finally, we wake up one day and we realize, I’m not getting anywhere with this. Lord, I’m sorry. Help me. And peace enters in.

And I’ll tell you, we have a God who can direct our way, who knows the way. Think about what Job said. “He knows way that I take.” (NIV). But he didn’t stop there. He said, and when…I forget the exact words. When He’s brought me through…anyway, “…I will come forth as gold.” As gold. You see the vision that God gives us that enables us to see past things and to see and understand the hand of God that would deliver me from the very thing that’s causing me so much unrest, so much fear.

Getting older, you start feeling ‘stuff.’ You say, oh, my God, what’s happening? Sometimes it really is. But you know, God wants to bring us to such a place of trust where, no matter what, we know He’s God. We know He’s good. We know we’re safe in His hands. We know that the path of blessing is just to continue to look to Him and to thank Him even in the midst of those things. Nothing can, “…separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” None of these things can stop what He’s doing.

But do you get, at least, a glimmer of what He’s trying to do? I mean, what kind of a place would Heaven be if He didn’t get rid of this old nature and its hold on us? We’d just recreate all the hell on earth up there, if He just let it go. Man, I need changing! The things that cause me to strive, and be angry, and just react to life and things that happen are the very things from which I need to be delivered!

And He loves me enough to bring me ways that I would not choose. And they’re wilderness ways, many times. So I don’t have the feelings to go with all of this. It really comes down to, do I really trust God? Have I really surrendered? Or have I just kind of gone along for the ride and now this is bye-bye time? Oh my, I want to have that deep, settled confidence in Him. And then I need to learn. Am I the only one?

( congregational response ).

( laughing ).

We need to learn to let go and let God have His way. And I’ll tell you, you see throughout this the reality of what He did in the wilderness there and where they were headed and what His heart was. Oh, it was to take them into a place where they’d have everything they needed. They would lack nothing. They would enjoy the blessings of God. That was His heart! That’s His heart for us! And it’s not like we just need to wait for Heaven someday! There’s joy! There’s stuff that we could have right now!

( congregational amens ).

There’s a peace that comes with surrender! There’s a joy that comes with lifting our eyes from the journey to the One who’s over it! He can give us that fruit right now, even in spite of the circumstances! In the midst of the storm, He can be with us and help us and give us strength. Oh, what an awesome God we have! What lessons there are here for us! Praise God!

I don’t know that I have a lot more. Maybe somebody else does. There are certainly many examples in scripture, of people who thought they could do stuff and found out they couldn’t. You know, Peter, who wrote those words, “…humble yourselves…under the mighty hand of God…” He kind of had to learn some things, didn’t he? Hey, I think I’m fine. Don’t tell me, Jesus, I’m gonna fail You here. I would never do that.

( laughing ).

Except he did. He had to discover some things, didn’t he? But oh, how merciful the Lord was to reach down and to lift him up and encourage him, and accept him, and all right, you need to learn.

You know, I thought about this one thing. It tells us at the beginning to remember. And it almost sounds like a contradiction for Paul to turn around and say, “…forgetting those things which are behind…” (KJV). But I think the answer is a pretty simple one. We need to remember spiritual lessons. We need to remember the things that would strengthen us in our journey forward. But what I need to forget is my failures, the guilt of my failures, that sense of futility and frustration that comes with learning about myself, as though I’ve got to bring that forward and no matter what I do, I will fail.

You know, we’ve got to be able to let those things go. We’ve got to be able to see the ability of God to help us, that we’re not left to ourselves, that even when we learn all the stuff that’s wrong with us, we have a God to whom we can come who can take that away and lift us up, and help us to leave all of that in the past, not carry the baggage forward!

But oh, I’ll tell you. I want to remember the lesson. I’ll tell you, Peter never forgot the lesson of what happened. But he….you know how he felt after words? He went out and wept bitterly. He was able to leave that behind. He didn’t have to carry that burden of, I will forever be a screw-up in His eyes because I did that. Thank God, we can leave our guilt and our failures in the past and go forward! Praise God!

( congregational praise ).

Praise the Lord! Isn’t the Lord good to us?

( congregational response ).

But when it comes right down to it, what is the lesson? He’s trying to teach them that man does not live on bread only. In that context, he’s just talking about human ability, human resources. It’s not just earthly considerations here…me and what I can do and how I can arrange my life, and what I can accomplish, and all those things. It’s not about that. It’s about living by what He says, because what He says stands forever. This world’s gonna pass away. All the glory of whatever it is of this world will pass away! His Word will never pass away!

So it comes down to this. I trust Him more than I trust me. He knows better than I know. And when something comes along that I don’t understand, but He allows, and there’s nothing I can do about it, I trust Him because He knows best. He does know the way that I take. And when He has tried me, I think it is, I’ll come forth as gold.

Oh I’ll tell you what, these are simple lessons that would help to inform us in our daily lives, because I guarantee you, if you’re the Lord’s, you’re facing these things. You’re facing things you’d rather not face. You’re facing things that cause you to rise up and strive and fuss, and…why is it this way…why this, why that? Instead of saying, Lord, I need to see this in the light of Your love for me, in the light of salvation and the outworking of that salvation that would deliver me from all the things that are wrong with me, and to see past that, just like Jesus did, to see what’s coming.

And, for that to be real enough that it can enable me to say, yes, Lord. I’m willing to let go. This thing that I thought was so important to me, that was so vital to my wellbeing and my life, I’m willing to let it go, Lord. I’d rather have what You would give me than this, Lord. I’m willing to let go. And I’ll tell you, the Lord would just teach us to the point where we can have peace, can’t we?

( congregational response ).

We can be like Jesus and have rest for our souls. What are you upset about today? What are you mad about? What are you anxious about? What are you afraid of? I can ask the same of myself. The Lord longs for us just to lift up our eyes and say, Lord, You have me where You have me because You love me. Your promises are true. Just give me the grace. Help me right now to trust You more than I trust myself, and to be willing to let go and to enjoy the things that You have promised.

And I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who can bring us into a place of blessing, deeper than we know. I started to say about this, ‘humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.’ Sometimes, I think we think of that as an event. But it’s a way of life. There’s never a point where we say, okay, I did that. It didn’t work!

( laughing ).

This is simply a posture we take before God where we always know who we are, and we always know who He is. And we always trust Him more than we trust ourselves. That’s the place of blessing. And I pray that everyone here might find it, today. Praise God!