- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
In the Wilderness - Part 2
- In the Wilderness - Part 1
Mountaintop experiences are always wonderful! We live in the high places close to God's heart. We walk in His presence. We commune as it were, face to face with the Most High. But alas, it happens.
A Quick Review
In Part 1 of this short series we looked at what it means to be in the wilderness. We looked at the life of Moses as a prime example. In this installment we will consider David as he travels through his wilderness, and look at the conclusion of Job's time in his own private wilderness. Shall we begin.
David’s time in the wilderness begins in I Samuel 19:18 – “So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.” David is on the run, and will continue to be on the run for quite sometime.
We see David in the wilderness in I Samuel 23:14 – “And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph . . . .” We see David roaming the wilderness in I Samuel 23:15, 24; I Samuel 24:1; I Samuel 25: 4, 21: and I Samuel 26:2, 3. Much of David’s life was spent running form Saul in the wilderness. David’s seemingly hopeless situation was for the glory of God as well as David’s good.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon David as he was anointed king in I Samuel 16:13. This king anointed by God spent the next portion of his life – in the wilderness. God still had work to do in David’s life; called to serve, yet not fully prepared. God was still working even though David was preoccupied with staying alive. The man after God’s own heart was consumed with self-preservation. He was forced to leave Jerusalem, the place of worship. He traveled to Ramah to see the prophet Samuel for spiritual strength. Next, he goes to Nob to visit Ahimelech the priest.
David’s spiritual life was in dire straits. God had removed his place of worship. Next God removes His Word through the prophet Samuel. Finally God brings a temporary end to David’s spiritual growth as David flees the tabernacle at Nob, and the presence of Ahimelech the priest. David is left with nothing, but his God and tense trials.
It was his place in the wilderness. It was this David who in I Samuel 30:6 was overwhelmed with distress as his own men turned on him. It was this same David who encouraged himself in the Lord when it seemed that life itself was running out.
It is in our darkest hour that God is nearest. Claim the promises – “. . . I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Genesis 28:15). “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people” (I Samuel 12:22). “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:28). “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Psalm 41:10).
Know that when the night creeps in and obscures your Saviour’s face, He is nearer than you know. He is right beside you. He has not left. You are not alone. Encourage yourself in the Lord.
You may not perceive Him as you go forward. You may not sense His presence to your left and right. The rear guard may seem left unattended, That is where Job found himself, but that is not the end of the story. Job continues in Job 23:10, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job could not see clearly the path before him, but he knew his God could and did. God knows the way you take also. He sees you. He knows your integrity. You may be misunderstood by others, but God knows you fully. “For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
The end of Job’s wilderness journey not only finds him fully discovering his God, but he also discovers himself. He says in Job 42:5, 6 – “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” In Job’s wilderness experience, he met God face to face, and in the process he saw himself through new eyes. His new perspective caused a new reaction, a new direction – repentance.
Isaiah had a similar experience. We read in Isaiah 6:1-8 – “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple . . . And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts . . . Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here amI; send me.”
Once Isaiah could clearly see the Lord in His rightful place, he was able to see himself in his rightful place – undone and unclean. As he was cleansed, he was then able to go on and volunteer for the Lord’s Army. I believe in an instant many aspects of God’s person were revealed to Job and Isaiah.
Are you willing to take the challenge?
During our times in the wilderness, should we do anything less than see our God for who He is? He is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24). He is merciful (Deuteronomy 4:31). God is jealous (Deuteronomy 6:31). The eternal God is our refuge (Deuteronomy 33:27). God is with thee (Joshua 1:9). He is our strength and power (II Samuel 22:23). God is our defense (Psalm 59:9). God is my salvation (Psalm 62:7). The list goes on. May I challenge you do a Bible study on the phrase “God is . . . .” The phrase appears 150 times in 149 verses in the Bible, and much can be gleaned from this study. It involves time. Revival cannot be hurried. Allow God to express His being to you.
When have an accurate view of God, we can then see ourselves properly. Truly we are undone and have a need to repent. Are you willing? Now, try doing a Bible study on the term, “I am. You will find that God is all glorious, but man is sinful, lost, and fearful.
When we come to terms with who God is, and who we are, it should lead us to godly sorrow that works repentance (I Corinthians 7:10). What a shame it would be to go through a God-sent wilderness journey and not arrive at God’s perspective of life! Once we begin to see things from Heaven’s view, our trip though the wilderness will be easier to bear. God may at times seem to withdraw Himself, but know that He is always with you. He will never leave you, and it is always for your good.