Friday, December 15, 2006

In the Wilderness

Psalm 106:6 says (New American Standard): "We have sinned like our fathers."

Those "fathers" are the Israelites whom God brought out of Egypt. The Psalm then talks about the incredible miracles God performed to save his people from their oppressors. How He parted the Red Sea and led them through--while the Egyptian army followed and was covered by the waters and drowned. Israel praised God for His deliverance. They knew, with that drowned army and the sea now between them and their enemies, they were finally free from Egypt forever.

Then come verses 13-14:

They quickly forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
But craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tempted God in the desert.

The Psalm goes on to say how the Israelites continued to forget what God had done for them, even fashioning a gold calf to worship. Even so, God eventually led them to their promised land. But--(verse 24),

Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe in His word.

As many times as I’ve prayed the Psalms, it was a couple years before God spoke to me through these verses. Israel “craved intensely in the wilderness.” As a result, even when God brought them out of the desert and into the good times He had promised them for years, they couldn’t see His goodness. They “despised the pleasant land.”

God said to me, “Brandilyn, don’t ‘crave intensely in your wilderness.’”

Every Christian has been brought out from his/her own “land of Egypt.” And at some point, after the high of deliverance, we all enter our wilderness times. It’s pretty hard to be content with God in the desert. To wait--and praise Him in the midst of waiting. But God’s pretty clear here—if we refuse to use such times to build up our faith, our hearts may turn hard. We can end up following our own version of the gold calf. As a result, we can become so bitter and self-focused and defeated, we won't even see the promised blessings God later brings our way. We will "despise the pleasant land."

Psalm 106 is one of the psalms I prayed this morning. Now I blog about it with a strong sense from God that someone out there needs to hear Him say: “Beloved, don’t crave intensely in your wilderness.”


Unknown said...

Mmm. Boy, did I need to hear this. I've been pressing forward in my wilderness, asking God, "Where are You?", knowing He is there, but not feeling Him so well. Your post is a great reminder to me to be still and wait for God's deliverance. I keep asking God to show Himself, but that is "craving intensely in the wilderness." I need to love Him, praise Him, do what I know to be right and wait. Thank you for giving me a sense of "its-gonna-be-okay" today.

Jason said...

There may be more than one who needs this! It is a good warning to me as well. I'm going to have to read Psalm 106 today. Thanks for being faithful and sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Don't know why I can't post as myself today, but anyway. Don't I know what you are talking about. Thanks for the reminder. He is always there.

tina f

Anonymous said...

This is so true. We lose the joy of the journey when we focus on what we think the end result is supposed to be. I never want to lose the joy of chasing after my Father. Of ever yearning for more of Him. For following hard after Him through the wildernesses and into the Promised Land. The challenge for me is to keep chasing after God in the wilderness without losing the ability to delight in the Promised Land when I reach it.

But God is so good. And I am learning that His path is full of delights and I can't wait to see where He's taking me!

Marjorie Vawter said...

I, too, needed this reminder this morning. My wilderness (or valley of the shadow of death) is long, and several times I've found myself craving that it would end. . .soon!! I, too, have been reminded over and over that what God truly wants to hear is my praises to Him in the midst of this wilderness. Thank you, Brandilyn, for sharing your thoughts on this wonderful psalm.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Kristy Dykes said...

This is a good word for me, raising my hand here and waving.

God's helped me get published. He's given me nine contracts. He's equipped me to write and publish over 600 articles (I quit counting a long time ago at the 600 mark).

But I want more in the publishing arena. I'm in a wilderness of sorts, knowing the Promised Land is ahead, but wondering, wondering, wondering...

"Behold, don't crave intensely in your wilderness," the Psalmist said.

B, you warn us not to do this, but to focus on God instead, so that the Pleasant Land will be good, oh, so good.

Thanks for this reminder. I'll heed your words and the Psalmist's.

May God bless you for your obedience to Him this A.M.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brandilyn. It amazes me how frequently God uses your reading/sharing of the Psalms to teach me a lesson.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Where would we be without the Psalms? Thank you, commenters. I'm glad to hear this post has helped you today.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

And it helped me today. Just what I needed to read. Thank you for focusing on those verses, Brandilyn.


Anonymous said...

This was very powerful, Brandylynn. I've always thought to myself that after seeing all those amazing miracles that the Isrealites could turn so easily. I always wonder what as a group of people were they thinking? Easy to judge others, isn't it.

This really spoke to me. I'm glad I caught up after getting so behind on visiting. Thanks Brandylynn.