Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lead Me To The Desert So I May Drink!

Do you ever feel as if you are in a desert? Do you feel dry? Parched? Perhaps you feel you will die if you are there any longer! Have you ever considered that the desert may not be a bad thing in your life but instead, it may be a place of refreshing … a place of encounter … a place where you will meet with God and come away changed?

As I reflect on the deserts I have travelled through in my life, I think there are 4 ways that we tend to end up there:
- Discouragement
- Distraction
- Disobedience
- Divine leading

1. Discouragement
1 Kings 19:2-3
In verse 3 we see Elijah was afraid and discouraged. He ran to the desert and wished to die. God met him there, strengthened him and then he went on to Horeb - a very significant place which we will come back to later.

2. Distraction
What is our focus? What are you looking at? Matthew 6 tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God. How often do we allow our eyes to become focused on other things - disappointments, hurts, injustices, our circumstances? When we do this it’s like getting lost in a maze. We wander around and around getting more and more off track. All we see are high walls around us. We need to be like the Psalmist in Psalm 121 who said, "I will lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” God looks down on the maze and can see the way out. He will lead us out when we fix our eyes on Him instead of the circumstances. In fact, He doesn't just lead us out of it, He promises that in all things he works for the good of those who love him and work according to his ways.

3. Disobedience
Nothing takes us off the path quicker than disobedience. There are examples all through the Bible of this. If you feel like you are in a desert and disobedience has taken you there, come back to the last place you met God and be obedient!

The above three are pretty self-explanatory so I have not spent much time on them. The next one is the focus of this post. One I feel we do not give enough thought to.

4. Divine Leading
I don't know about you, but like the Israelites in Exodus, I often moan and groan in deserts and spend most of my energy trying to work out how I will get out of them! Have you ever considered the fact that God will lead you into the desert for a time of intimacy with you - a time where he can have your undivided attention?

In Hosea 2:14 he says, “I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her...” What does this word allure mean? It comes from the hebrew word "pathah" which means "to open" or "roomy". Isn't this amazing?! God will take us into the desert to open us, clean out our garbage and make us roomy so that we can contain more of him and have more to give away …

In 1 Kings 19 we see that Elijah ended up on Mount Horeb. This mountain is very significant and we will discuss it more later. Moses had his first encounter with God in the burning bush at Horeb. Later on he met again with God on this mountain (many Bible scholars think Horeb and Sinai are probably the same mountain). God met Elijah and spoke with him on Horeb. You might be wondering what a mountain and the desert have to do with each other? The name Horeb means barren, desert and desolate. Its location is also in the middle of the desert! It was a place of God encounter.

Deserts do not have to be places of death. They can become places of life. God provides in the desert. He provided Elijah with food, the Israelites with mannah, Jesus with ministering angels, Moses with his Presence ... If you are in the desert at the moment, what does God have to say about it?

Isaiah 44:2-3
" ... be not afraid o Jacob, for I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground ..."

Isaiah 35:6 - 7
" ...water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool and thirsty ground, bubbling springs ..."

So … what do we do when we find ourselves in the desert? Check out Desert Survival Skills!

No comments: