Wilderness Experience | Exodus 2:15-25

July 31, 2021

Book: Exodus

Scripture: Exodus 2:15-25

Today we are going to see why we face wilderness experiences in our life, where God is when we face problems, and how God uses our wilderness experiences to fulfill his promises in our life.

Introduction: After a person truly turns to Christ there is usually a short period of joy and blessing where everything seems so wonderful and new! The Scriptures teach us that after this short period of joy and blessing we will eventually enter a dry wilderness. It is all a totally unpleasant experience. Instead of prosperity, there will be trials and pressure. Your peace will be assaulted by all kinds of negative emotions and thoughts. It’s a test, but God has promised that you will never be tempted beyond your ability to endure. It is a situation where you wonder if God ever cared for you and if ever you will have the fulfillment of all the promises of God in your life. This experience is called the Wilderness Experience.


  • Moses was brought up in King Pharaoh’s Palace as a prince.
  • He being an Israelite stepped out on his own to become the deliverer of Israel.
  • Moses acted in haste and killed an Egyptian.
  • Moses had to run away from Egypt.
  • Haste makes waste.

Now we come to Exodus 2:15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. In Midian Moses is sitting by a well. Now Moses would have been thinking all that happened back in Egypt. He would have been regretting his steps of hastiness. Moses would have been thinking all this problem came to him because he just tried to help someone. His help was rejected and now he himself is in trouble and is lonely.

Exodus 2:16-17a Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away. Again, Moses is facing the same situation where he is obliged to help. Thoughts of help turned into disaster in Egypt would have crossed his mind, “should I help or not.” Moses anyhow decided to help these poor girls. Exodus 2:17b But Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock. Many of us go out of our way and help others but when we get bitter experiences, we stop helping others, but Moses kept on helping not bothering the outcome. Let us never hesitate to help and fight for injustice in society even if we are standing alone. Now, this help got Moses a house and a wife. Exodus 2:18-21 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?” They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” “And where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.

Now don’t think that since Moses married a Midianite you too can marry anyone from anywhere and do God’s work. The Midianites were also descendants of Abraham (through his second wife – Keturah)

Genesis 25:1, 4 1Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 4The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah. They Midianites may have remained the worshippers of the One True God. Now, Moses’s father-in-law’s name was Reuel which means friend of God. By all probability Moses married a wife who believed in the Almighty God.

Exodus 2:22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become an alien in a foreign land.”

Now here is a man with advanced knowledge of science, literature, wars, philosophy, and culture just somehow surviving life in a desert.
• He is living with his father-in-law.
• Raising a couple of children.
• Watching sheep that belongs to his father-in-law.
• All his dreams and vision in life shattered.

This is called the wilderness experience.

How long was Moses in the wilderness? Acts 7:30 After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years.

During the most productive years of his life Moses felt like an absolute waste, wasting his time in the wilderness. How many of you feel the same way? I’m wasting my best years; still I have not achieved anything in life. Do not get discouraged, I have good news for you today because God is working in your life today.

Anyone who has gotten anywhere in God has gone through at least one wilderness experience. Moses went through it for 40 years. For Jesus the wilderness experience was 40 days. For some the wilderness experience is days, for some months, and for some years. It may be problems in your job, bad finances, a troubled marriage, disobedient children and the list goes on where you may be feeling you are heading nowhere in life.

Does God know your wilderness experiences? Yes.
Does God know the depth of what you are going through? Yes.

Many times, we feel even God has abandoned us in our life. We feel we do not deserve it but why Lord? We often feel like giving up in life and say it’s all over.

But let me take you to the first point of my message.


God put Moses through a 40-year wilderness experience to lead sheep in desert and then God uses Moses the next 40 years to lead his children in the desert. The wilderness experience was a training period for Moses for a greater calling.

Why does God lead us through the wilderness experience?

Hosea 2:14 Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. It is in the desert experience God gets to speak to us.

Moses himself says the reason.

Deuteronomy 8:2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

God leads us to the desert to:

  • Humble us.
  • Test us. Understand God is testing your heart in your wilderness.
  • Let us forget our past mistakes/failures. Moses was probably thinking about his past failure in the desert and could not forgive himself for making the grave mistake of killing a Egyptian. God taught Moses how to deal with his failures in the desert. God taught Moses how to deal with his past memories. Finally, God taught Moses how to forgive himself and make him whole again.


I want to tell you God is with us in our wilderness experience. See what Moses says after he has overcome the wilderness experience. Moses is singing about himself before his death.

Deuteronomy 32:10-11 10 In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, 11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.

Even when you go through the wilderness experience

  • God shields/encircles you.
  • He cares for you.
  • God guards you.
  • He guides you.


When we are in the wilderness experience, we often think God is slack in keeping his promises. Moses also probably felt the same way but deep within God was working to fulfill his promises. Exodus 2:23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. Moses would have heard about the plight of his people back in Egypt. Moses would have wanted to do something to help his people but this time he was helpless, without power, and he totally relied on God. Exodus 2:24-25 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. God heard, God remembered, God looked, and God was concerned. God worked in Moses’ life and also in Egypt simultaneously to fulfill his people.

God worked in Moses’ life in relation to the condition in Egypt. God saw the need of the Israelites and fulfilled the promises on Moses. Moses could have been delivered from Midian and brought back to Egypt as a king but God uses Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of bondage. We must use every blessing God and every deliverance that God gives for the benefit of the church of God. (Example of Job, more time, etc.). Our jobs, our finances, our talents, gifts must be used in the church of God.


Are you in the wilderness experience this morning, without any sign of relief and hope? Understand God is working in your life. Anyone who has gotten anywhere in God has gone through at least one wilderness experience. Our Lord Jesus Christ also went through a wilderness experience, and He showed us how to pass through it successfully. After his baptism, and His anointing with the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures say He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. This wilderness experience prepared Jesus for the great ministry that he did. The wilderness experience of Moses prepared him for a great ministry as well. The length of time of a wilderness experience can vary from 40 days in the life of Jesus to 40 years in the life of Moses. So don’t give up in the midst of trials. It is necessary that you pass through seasons of trials, but God is there for you to strengthen you and uphold you.