Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What's for Desert? The Reality of Dry Times

The desert is a pretty popular topic in the Bible. I found well over 300 references to the word. The desert is an interesting place, dry and desolate to some, something to be endured by others, and to one with a keen eye, teeming with life.

This week on Kingdom Bloggers, we wrote about doubt, and the desert usually is not far away. We wrote about that HERE.

We know that Israel, although lush in some areas, is arid in others - the same is true of life. If we look at the biblical/spiritual events that take place in the desert, I think that we will see the parallels to our own lives. Here are some attributes of the desert that we should be aware of.

There is life giving water in the desert:
Genesis 16:7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert.

God can be with us in the desert:
Genesis 21:20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.

God can get our attention in the desert:
Exodus 3:1 [ Moses and the Burning Bush ] Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert.

God can give us a ministry in the desert:
Exodus 4:27 The LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the desert to meet Moses."

God can be worshipped in the desert:
Exodus 7:16 Then say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert.

Sometimes the end of the desert is where the miracle happens:
Exodus 13:18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.

We must trust the Lord in the desert. Numbers 20:1-13
Numbers 20 [Water From the Rock] 1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin.

God will carry us in the desert:
Deuteronomy 1:31 and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."

God will protect us in the desert:
1 Samuel 26:2 So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search there for David.

Our attitude in the desert matters:
Psalm 78:40 How often they rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland!

God is the one that transforms that desert:
Psalm 107:35 He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs.

God cares for us in the desert:
Hosea 13:5 I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat.

God sometimes sends us to the desert for refining:
Mark 1:13 and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan.

The desert can be a dry and lonely place, a place where we may grow weary. It is also a place where we can use the faith we have so often claimed to have.

Ezekiel 37:4 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!

I used to think that the desert was on for believers that didn't really understand the gospel message, but today I see it as part of the walk - sometimes a very long walk.Moses was there. What must Paul have thought when he languished in prison? What about Joseph at the bottom of the cistern? David as he was pursued by Saul? Jonah while in the belly of the whale?

For many of us that found abundant life in the Charismatic Renewal, the Toronto Blessing, or the Revival at Brownsville, or some other place where we felt close to God. It has been awhile since we really had a chance to be be deep in the river of God.

It even rains in the desert.

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