For so many Christians in the US, I am hearing about dry times, desert times and lack. It would be easy to blame it all on Satan and say, he has robbed me, he has destroyed my life or in some cases, killed those I love. For we know from scripture that is his job. (John 10:10). However, if we look at the symbolic meaning of the desert in the Bible, we'll see that many times it is ordained by God, and serves a purpose for the true disciple of Jesus. If you are not a believer, you simply see life as the "good times" and the "bad times" with life fading to black in the end.
It will only take a few moments for you to think of Bible characters that spent time in the desert. Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus; to name a few. Each one was there for a different purpose in God's plan. Job in his own way was also in a "desert," and when it comes to suffering, he is the most well known. But there are many others did that did not live the life of luxury and happiness-- yet they fulfilled the calling of God, using their dry times to give perspective to their times in the refreshing river of God.
Joseph who grew into great favor with God, was thrown into a cistern in the desert long before he reached his destiny. (Genesis 37) Aaron met Moses in the desert. (Exodus 4:27) The Israelites camped in the desert. (Number 10:31) John baptized in the desert. (Mark 1:4)
I have never been to the deserts in an around Israel, but I have been to the ones in the southwest. One thing I noticed after a brief thunderstorm in Arizona as I was on my way to Mesa Verde in southern Colorado, and that was the ability for life to spring up from the dry and dusty desert, in what seemed like mere hours after the rain clouds departed. In the same way, God is at work in the deserts of our lives.
Here are some things God was able to do for a people that trusted him in the desert.
- God trains us in the desert. Genesis 21:20
- He meets with us in the desert. Exodus 5:3
- Feeds us in the desert. 1 Kings 17:1
- He gives us water when we are thirsty. Exodus 17:1
- We are tempted in the desert, but He is with us. Mark 1:13
- You can worship in the desert. Exodus 7:16
An finally God can deal with you in the desert. How will you respond? Are you looking for the cloud far off? Can you wait another week, another year, another generation? 1 King 18:44
And remember, form the from a valley of dry bones, God made and army. Ezekiel 37:1-14