Wednesday, September 09, 2009
How to Survive the Wilderness
Psalm 106:6 says (New American Standard): "We have sinned like our fathers."
Those "fathers" were 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 their 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 when you're in a 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."
Are you in a wilderness right now? Hear what God is telling you: "Beloved, don’t crave intensely in your wilderness.”