The Wilderness Experience -- By: William J. McRae

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 07:1 (Summer 1998)
Article: The Wilderness Experience
Author: William J. McRae

The Wilderness Experience

William J. McRae1

An Exposition of Exodus 15:22–27


This section of the book of Exodus begins the first steps of the children of Israel into the wilderness. After their remarkable deliverance from Egypt and their spectacular passage through the Red Sea, we read in Exodus 15:22

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur.

Israel’s wilderness experience contains many lessons for believers. We will begin with an overview of Israel in the wilderness and the major lessons of the period before considering our paragraph in Exodus 15.

Israel’s Wilderness Experience: An Overview

The Wilderness in Relation to the Journey from Egypt to Canaan

In Egypt there was the bondage, the plagues, the passover, and the crossing of the Red Sea. Then came the wilderness journey.

It began with problems: Five major ones confronted them one after another, testing their faith and proving God’s faithfulness. Then came Mt. Sinai with the giving of the Law and Tabernacle. In due course they left the mount of God and came to Kadesh-barnea, the border of Canaan. There, their faith faltered. They failed to take by faith what God had given to them. For thirty-eight long years they wandered in the desert until that generation of unbelievers died. Then the new generation came to Canaan. They were standing on the shores of the Jordan River when Moses died and Joshua assumed leadership.

Then they came into the land of Canaan. By faith they crossed the Jordan and possessed their inheritance. This is a simple summary of the course of events.

The Time Period and the Scripture Involved

The geography, the chronology, and the passages of Scripture involved in the journey from Egypt to Canaan may be conveniently represented in chart form.

Two Stages of Israel’s Time in the Wilderness

Their Walk

This term may be used to designate that part of their journey when progress toward Canaan is being made. It covers the journey from Egypt to Kadesh-Barnea (Exodus 12-Numbers 14) and from Kadesh-Barnea to Transjo...

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