En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Be My Patience in the Wilderness!

Posted by Scott on June 24, 2009

A billboard once said, “Lord, please make me patient-and do it right now.”

This statement speaks volumes for most of us does it not? We want to be patient as long as we can learn to be patient right now. You know, when we find ourselves in the “wilderness” spiritually it is our tendency to want to hurry about and learn what we need and get back to the fluffy way of life we had before. Our human nature is to tell God “thanks but no thanks” to getting away from our daily routine. We tend to look at the trial as a punishment or a vindication by God for not learning a secret lesson previously. I can tell you from experience in the wilderness myself the trial is not a punishment necessarily, but is a training ground in order to bring our spiritual lives into submission to obeying God in all situations in order to glorify Him and further His kingdom.  The wilderness gets rid of pride, arrogance, and self-promotion leading us to obedience to Christ, submission to the will of God, and a vessel in which God can now use for His purposes.

God is not in a hurry to speed us through these wilderness lessons. Look to Moses as a prime example. He spent 40 years tending sheep in the desert with gritty sand in his hair and chapped lips. Then Moses spent another 40 years wondering around in the desert listening to thousands of complaining grumbling Israelites before he came to the promise land and never was allowed in. So, Moses spent 80 years in the wilderness at the beckoning of God Almighty. I will go out on a limb here to say that God is not in any hurry when teaching us what we need to know.

David is another example of spending a long time in the wilderness running from King Saul trying to stay alive. He ran from cave to cave in the En Gedi region high in the mountains. He moved from desert to desert.  In En Gedi if you remember he was in a cave hiding and while Saul came in to take make waste David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but he was living in obedience to his God.  Then while hiding and running in the desert of Ziph he passed up an opportunity to take Saul then.  Here again David knew that he was not to kill Saul, but took Saul’s spear and water jug as proof he was there.  Even in the desert David was discerning to the obedience God had called him to.  The lessons he learned during this time were priceless to him during his reign as King. David discovered who his God really was during this time. He discovered the ability to trust his sovereign God and that his God was bigger than anyone could ever imagine.

I came across a great statement one time that an older believer once angrily asked his pastor a question, “Why is it God has made me this way? The pastor cracked a gentle smile and replied, “God has not made you-He is still making you”. What a wise statement by the pastor.  As Believers we are all in the the same process…in the wilderness is when it is revealed to us just who our God is and why we must trust and obey Him. The pain and many times the humiliation of the wilderness is where true godly character is formed.  This truth about God’s ways can escape us during these menacing days and weeks or even months we find ourselves circling in the wilderness. However, we can trust that God is patiently and gently molding us into His image and for His greater purposes.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts , neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord….so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

It is in the wilderness that I have found a God that is interested in my obedience to Him. He is actively involved in shaping my thoughts in accordance to His. He is actively guiding me in the direction He intends for me to go. God does work strangely, but it is all in accordance with His sovereign purposes to do as He wills. The wilderness is all a specific part of the training we must go through in this life. Much of the time we do not even discover until much later in life what the wilderness was for, but it was not a time God wasted. He never waste time or events not knowing the end result…He created the end result from the beginning.  He created us and the events we are involved in for a specific task in the future for His greater glory.  We are called out to trust and obey.  If we knew the desert we had to cross to get to the promised land most likely we would never get out of bed in the mornings.  Faith and trust are a must in order to get through each and every day we spend in this life, especially while travelling through a dirty dusty wilderness.

So, patiently and methodically move through this wilderness on the trail God is laying out before you. Try not to rush through each day without at least stopping to place a marker occasionally for future generations to know about your wilderness trip.  As humans we try to escape the pain, humiliation, and the thought of being reconstructed, but remember Who it is that is doing the reconstruction of your life.  To be singled out for such a personal one on one training from God Himself is of the highest privilege we as a Believer could be called to other than preaching and teaching the Word of God. He is specifically tending to your needs, while molding, carving, and shaping your thoughts, reactions, character, and testimony for His future use. Your purpose could be as large as the task Moses undertook with the Israelites or as simple as witnessing to a small child in a remote area of south Africa with no fanfare or anyone knowing about it. Both are worthy of the obedience and sacrifice in order to bring glory to our heavenly Father and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2009

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