We’ve all been there, wondering how and/or why we ended up in this seemingly God forsaken place. And yet, that very place is where He Himself has sent us. The desert.
It’s hard to understand the purpose of a desert sometimes; it’s hard to see it’s beauty. It appears dry, lifeless and forsaken. And yet, just like everything else He brings our way, it does have meaning and purpose; it’s not just a random act of meanness on His part or an ‘Oops! I forgot you!’ What He’s really saying is, “I’ve sent you into the desert because I want to test you. I’m trying to teach you something and I want to see if you’ve learned it.”
1 All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers.
2 You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.
16 In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.
Searching this passage for a refreshing stream in the desert, He brought me to 6 oasis’ of truth about the desert.
- Sometime we’re in the desert because He wants us to know what’s in our hearts. Who or what we are really comes out in the desert; what we really love, what really matters for us, what our real character is, (who) what we’re really trusting in.
- He tests us to find out if we’re obedient. Will we be obedient when we can’t see the outcome, what lays ahead. When His ways don’t make sense, will we still be obedient?
- Sometimes He wants to know, “Will you trust Me?” When you can’t see Him or the path you are on, when the circumstances are painful, when the night turns into months, maybe even years, will you trust Him?
- Maybe He wants to humble us. Sometimes He creates circumstances that we think are someone else’s fault. God is the ultimate person behind our circumstances. He humbled us. In the desert, where we don’t have any crutches, no excuses, nothing to lean on, God strips us. He strips us of pride, self-sufficiency, co-dependence. We see ourselves for what we really are, and sometimes what comes out is pretty ugly. We’re humbled and realize, “Oh God! Apart from you I’m a total mess. I can’t keep my life together. I can’t respond right to this person or these people. I can’t handle this situation.” Our pride wants to keep us in a circumstance where we can manage everything, but God sends us into the desert, where we can’t manage or do it on our own. The worst comes out and we’re humbled by God.
- Sometimes He wants to teach us that we need more than physical bread to sustain our life, we need spiritual bread that will sustain our soul and spirits. We all have an inner need that is even greater than the physical need. There are times we need to get taken to the desert to find that sustaining stream for our soul and spirit.
- Lastly, He desires to strengthen our faith and make us dependent upon Him. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9) Song of Solomon 8:3 says “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?”
All of us are either heading into a desert, in a desert, or heading out of a desert. What’s your posture? Is it one of total reliance? Are you leaning on your Beloved Jesus?
- The Patient Husbandman
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