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Why Not A Desert?

“Stop the World”

——————-

(By: Matthew West)

 

The TV is talking.

The telephone’s ringing.

The lights are all on and the radio’s screaming.

A million distractions are stealing my heart from You.

I’m tired and empty.

This life is relentless.

And it weakens my knees and it breaks my defenses.

It’s wearing me down! I-I’m desperate to hear from You!

 

(Chorus)

Stop the world!

I want to get out!

I need an escape away from this crowd

Just to hear You

Speak to me!

I need to be still

Before I make a move.

And I need to be humble

With nothing to prove.

And I need Your Word

To show me the Truth!

I need time!

Precious time!

 

[Repeat chorus]

 

Stop the world!

I’m ready to listen!

Show me a sign!

Just give me a vision of heaven

That I can hold on to!

Stop the world I need some time with You!

 

Oh! (× several)

 

Before I can find my voice,

I need to hear Your voice

Above all the senseless noise!

Oh oh oh oh!

Stop the world!

I want to get out!

I need an escape away from this crowd

Just to hear You!

I need to hear Your voice!

Stop the world!

I’m ready to listen!

Show me a sign!

Give me a vision of heaven

That I can hold on to!

Stop the world!

I need some time with You! (×2)

—————————————–

[Just to note: desert/wilderness=deserted place, not just the sandy wastelands we know as “deserts”. Israel is situated in a mountainous area, where they have rocky wastelands with grass.]

mountains-desert

*Pic is from http://wallpaper-kid.com/desert-mountain-wallpaper-hd.htm

 

(Exodus 5:3)

And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us:let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.

(KJV)

 

Throughout my study of the Bible, I have read quite a few verses about the desert/wilderness. Scriptures where people of God willingly went to a deserted place for some period of time. Now, for the most part, I simply read through them and went on…But recently, after a Sunday school lesson, I started purposefully seeking these scriptures out. In the above verse, Moses and Aaron are trying to get Pharoah to let the Israelites go into the desert for a three-day journey in order to sacrifice. Now, I understand that this was probably an attempt to get free from Egypt. However, the words used in this verse strike me.

—The Lord has met with us, therefore let us go into the desert to sacrifice.—

An interesting, unheard-of concept.

In our recent Sunday school lesson, we talked about the desert. Why did people go into a deserted place?

 

★Moses spent forty years in the desert, where God eventually called him to redeem His people.

(Acts 7:30)

And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him [Moses] in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

(KJV)

 

★Elijah fasted for forty days and nights in the desert before his experience with God on the mountain.

(1Kings 19:8)

And he [Elijah] arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

(KJV)

 

★The Israelites spent considerable time in the wilderness and learned some of their most valuable lessons there. It was in the desert that God rained manna out of heaven, made bitter waters sweet, poured water out of a rock, and many other miracles to keep the Israelites on their journey.

(Psalm 136:16)

To him which led his people through the wilderness:

for his mercy endureth for ever.

(KJV)

 

★John the Baptist spent quite some time in the wilderness, where he received the word of God and even preached and baptised.

(Luke 3:2-6)

(2)…the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. (3) And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; (4) As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (5) Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; (6) And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

(KJV)

 

★Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the wilderness. In one passage it says that the Spirit drove him there!

(Matthew 4:1-2)

(1) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

(KJV)

 

★The woman in Revelations fled to the wilderness, where God had already established a place for her…in the wilderness!

(Revelation 12:6)

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

(KJV)

 

Then you have other, less direct verses about the wilderness, particularly in Psalms. I like the one in Isaiah. It says He can make the wildernesses/deserts into gardens of the Lord, fruitful like Eden and pleasant. He will comfort her waste places. Though this could obviously be translated physically (that he will make even her deserted places to abound with blessings), I would also like to point out the spiritual aspect of this (that He can make the deserts a place for our spiritual fruitfulness and comfort). Notice what he says shall be found therein: not trees and plants and fruit and good ground; but joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

 

(Psalm 29:8)

The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness;

the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

(KJV)

 

(Isaiah 51:3)

For the Lord shall comfort Zion:

he will comfort all her waste places;

and he will make her wilderness like Eden,

and her desert like the garden of the Lord;

joy and gladness shall be found therein,

thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

(KJV)

 

What strikes me most is what is said in two particular verses in Psalm 55—

(Psalm 55:6-7)

(6) And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove!

for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

(7) Lo, then would I wander far off,

and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

(KJV)

 

Did you catch that? The psalmist here says that they wished they had wings like a dove that they may fly…where? Not to some palace. Not to the Temple. Not to paradise. Not to heaven. Nope. To the wilderness….

The question then must be asked: Why on earth would you beg to go to the wilderness?

This has struck me as something mysterious and worth finding out. Why did God’s people so often go to the wilderness? Especially Jesus. He is our prime example, right? Why did He spend forty days and nights in the wilderness fasting before his ministry? The Scripture says that the Spirit drove Him there to be tempted of the devil…And that is a good example of His humaness. But I think there is something deeper than just to show us that He was tempted. Because he was not the only one that spent considerable time alone with God in the wilderness before his ministry (examples include Moses and John the Baptist). What if the Spirit drove Him there to be tempted of the devil as an example to us? I mean, what if the Spirit wants to drive us to the desert to be tempted of the devil to strengthen our faith and relationship with God?

desert-monk

*Pic from https://citydesert.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/in-the-silence-of-solitude/

 

Imagine for a moment what that would be like. You are in the middle of a completely barren land. No food. No water. No one for miles around. Just you and God. Imagine what that would do to you. You would be completely reliant on God for every second of every day. For Him to sustain you through hunger, thirst, wild animals, heat, storms, etc. You would be completely at His mercy….right where you ought to be daily. Imagine what that would do to your faith….

Now imagine emerging out of that after 40 days and nights. Back in the world where everyone else lived. With all their comforts and joys. It would be like Frodo trudging all the way to Mordor just to come back to the simple, hobbit’s life again. It just wouldn’t be the same. Your life would be eternally wrecked. You may never again feel the kind of previous worry over financial issues. You may never again feel the previous kind of fear of storms or animals. You may never again be able to view your comforts with the same eyes. No. You would be a radically changed person. Forever.

Imagine all the things that God could then use you for….

Yes, you would be a purged vessel. You would be something radically different from the world. Wouldn’t you give more freely to the poor, because you realize the insanity of thinking you needed all that you thought you had needed before? You would no doubt spend more time focussing on God, because that’s practically all you did for over a month! Perhaps you would share your faith more effectively, knowing now the value of life and souls and who God is. Yes, imagine all that you would then be….Having undergone the sharpest of testings in the wilderness, you may then be able to trust God without borders. You may then be able to walk on the waters, wherever He may call you. All because of some time spent in the wilderness…

In fact, even during His ministry, Jesus constantly went off alone to mountains and wildernesses to pray and commune with the Father….Furthermore, Jesus told His disciples to come to a desert place and rest from their ministering.

(Mark 6:31)

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

(KJV)

 

And why not? Why do we immediately reject the possibility of us actually doing that? This isn’t some new idea. Apparently, it’s about as old as at least Moses. So, why not? I mean, we do the same thing for a married couple. We believe that they need a honeymoon and vacations to spend time alone together, away from everyone, to get to know each other better. So, why not a christian spending time away from everyone and truly alone with God in order to get to know Him better?

But this is all a thought to be chewed on for a while. I myself am still chewing on it, thinking hard. Can I apply this even in my daily life? Could I spend more time alone with God? What about a desert?…

I want to close with another song. A song that has wrecked my life. A song that has become my prayer. A song that has begun to open up my heart to change.

 

~ “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” ~

—————————————-

(By: Hillsong United)

 

You call me out upon the waters:

The great unknown where feet may fail.

And there I find You in the mystery.

In oceans deep,

My faith will stand.

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves!

When oceans rise,

My soul will rest in Your embrace,

For I am Yours, and You are mine!

Your grace abounds in deepest waters!

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me.

You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now!

So I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves!

When oceans rise,

My soul will rest in Your embrace,

For I am Yours, and You are mine!

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders!

Let me walk upon the waters,

Wherever You would call me!

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior!

(×6)

Oh, Jesus, You’re my God!

I will call upon Your name!

Keep my eyes above the waves!

My soul will rest in Your embrace!

I am Yours, and You are mine!

——————————————————

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9 thoughts on “Why Not A Desert?

  1. Dear Kegan,

    Your fiery post kindled my spirit. Now something deep inside me responded saying, “Amen. Amen.” I highlighted every single verses which you quoted. Some of the sayings which strike me the most are;

    “I would also like to point out the spiritual aspect of this (that He can make the deserts a place for our spiritual fruitfulness and comfort)”.

    “Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness.” Psalm 55:7

    “The psalmist here says that they wished they had wings like a dove that they may fly…where? Not to some palace. Not to the Temple. Not to paradise. Not to heaven. Nope. To the wilderness. TO THE WILDERNESS.”

    “Never again would you feel the kind of previous worry over financial issues. Never again would you feel the previous kind of fear of storms or animals. Never again would you be able to view your comforts with the same eyes. No. You would be a radically changed person. Forever.”

    “Having undergone the sharpest of testings in the wilderness, you would then be able to trust God without borders. You would then be able to walk on the waters, wherever He may call you. You would then be a bonfire for Him. All because of some time spent in the wilderness…”

    “why do we reject the idea of spending time away from everyone and truly alone with God in order to get to know Him?”

    Now I am willing to dig into “wilderness” issue as well. I want to say to you that God has spoken something deep in my heart through this post.

    Please send my best regards to your Sunday School teacher and thank him/her to choose such an excellent topic.

    Kegan, thank you so so much.

    Kinuko

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Kinuko-san,

      Thank you. This topic has deeply moved me. This has to be one of my most special posts. I am happy to hear it has moved you as well. See, I told you about my Abba. He is actually also my Sunday school teacher. Taking what the Bible teaches about parents’ responsibility seriously, my father has taken huge steps to be the primary influence in our lives. So, he keeps us home during Sunday school and teaches us. All but the smallest one because my mom teaches his class in our sunday school service time. So, we were talking about something (I don’t remember what) and suddenly drifted into the topic of the wilderness. I had never given this much thought before. So, this was new. After much talk in our class time, I started studying into it. It has been such a blessing! And I now yearn to get away from everything and just spend time with God. My dad is contemplating ways we might could do this as a family….I am contemplating ways I can do it between high school graduation and college. I cannot possibly enter into ministry without first trusting completely in God. So, this has moved me deeply. May God bless your study on the wilderness!

      Your devoted little sister in love,
      Kay-chan ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Kegan,
        May God richly bless your father. And I am so impressed that you are taking the meaning of ‘wilderness’ quite seriously. You want to put it into practice! So wonderful. And I admire you and your love for the Lord. Please share with us more whenever God shows you something further.I love to hear that. with Christian love, Kinuko

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dearest Kinuko-san,

        Thank you so much. (:’) I pray that I remain faithful to the Lord always in everything. I don’t know when my next article will be ready. I’ve only got the beginnings of it, but I am seriously behind on school work and I have other things to tend to on top of that. So, we will just see. My next article (Lord be willing, if I do not reblog something or change my mind) is something I am passionate about and is somewhat of a misconception. So, pray that I speak with love and meakness seasoned with grace. (:)
        Thank you for everything.

        Your devoted little sister,
        Kay-chan

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sanae.T says:

    I remembered the song ‘Desert song’ by Brook fraser of Hillsong United.When we can feel God most nearly may be when we are alone,feeling like having no one to share our hearts.There are many thing we have to take only by ourselves. We all have room inside us for God where only He can fulfill. In our daily lives,sometimes we feel like we are in spiritual desert,but your post remind me that it is also good for souls to ask only Him. Thank you for this profound post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dearest Sanae-san,

      Thank you for your comment. I have never heard this song, but will certainly look it up! I love Brooke Fraser’s album “Albertine” and Hillsong United!
      Yes. You make a good point…Thank you! I am happy you are touched by this post. 🙂

      Your little sister,
      Kay-chan

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Being full-time in school and working full-time–makes it hard to find time alone with God. But through his strength I can do it. I have put aside at least 5-10 minutes for devotions. It’s important to know how to rejoice in wilderness because our friends and family will not be with us forever. I read stories of missionaries who were tortured and killed for their faith. Also, people see our faith manifestation better during hard times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dearest Sister Irina,

      Thank you for your input! Yes, you are right. May God help you in your time with Him! Let us keep those who are persecuted in our prayers. May God bless their hearts and ministries and draw them close to Him in strength, courage, faith, love, mercy, and comfort!

      Your devoted little sister,
      Kegan Cook

      Liked by 1 person

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