In the Desert, Not Deserted.

Sometimes I feel like Moses leading a bunch of cranky, old Israelites through the wilderness. Except I'm not Moses at all. I am the cranky, old Israelites! #InstaEncouragements #moses #israel #wandering

       The other night, a little after midnight, I let our dogs out to do their business before I went to bed.  As I stood in the darkness praying, I heard a song playing in the distance. It was familiar and I strained my ears to identify it. I recognized it as, “Rescue Story,” by Zach Williams. The chorus grew louder and echoed through the air, “You are the voice in the desert, crying out in the dead of night, fighting my battles for me, You are my rescue story.”  Standing in the hot desert of Phoenix, praying with darkness all around me; this song was no coincidence. My Heavenly Father was answering. It reminded me of the “rescue story,” of the Israelites and their journey with God in the desert. 

Exodus 14:13-16

13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry groundthrough the midst of the sea.

When we don’t know what the next chapter of our life will hold, when we come up against the Red Sea, God still has a plan to make a way. It’s our job in this moment to remember the goodness and deliverance that God has already provided. He is the one who sent the plagues and pestilence on Egypt, He delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh, and He parted the sea for His people. After all of that, they doubted He would quench their thirst. In their distrust, they tempted God. It’s easy to be hard on the Israelites for their reactions, but I believe we all tend to react like them from time to time. The natural man rarely has a good knee jerk reaction to major trial and stress.

Exodus 17: 2-7

2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?

3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?

4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.

6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

The story of the Israelites reminds me that I don’t want to repeat their mistakes.  Jesus Himself, set the example of how to handle temptation and trial. After fasting for 40 days in the wilderness and feeling weak, the devil tempted Him.

Matthew 4:3-10

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

When the devil tempted Jesus, he tried a few things. He enticed Christ to command a stone be made bread to satisfy His hunger from fasting, but Jesus quickly refused to use the power of His Father in Heaven for any purpose that was not for the will and His glory. Next, the devil tried to twist the promises that God has made to protect His children. The devil told Jesus, “Hey, if you are God’s and He promises to protect you, then you can throw yourself off this temple and His angels have to protect you.” Jesus responded, “Do not tempt the Lord your God.” Jesus knew that God gave us free will and He respects our decision to exercise it. Throwing ourself purposely into harms way is a decision of free will and God should not be expected to intervene. The last temptation the devil made to Jesus, was to offer Him the glory of the world if He would worship him instead of God. Jesus told him,”I will only worship and serve God. Get away from me.” These two stories are both about facing trial and temptation, but one is the perfect example of Jesus, His trust in His Father in Heaven, and how we should conduct ourselves when tempted. The story of the Israelites, demonstrates the weakness and tendencies of human nature.  They  tempted God with their chiding, and their desire to do things their old familiar way. They were even considering returning to Egypt where they’d been slaves. The most astounding part, is the vast love and mercy God extended to His children in their 40 years in the desert. Despite their ignorance and failures, He loved them, they were His people, and He had a will and purpose for their time of trial and testing. It’s incredibly comforting to know that even if I don’t know the next step, God does. I don’t need to know what the next chapter of this story looks like. I don’t need to have all the answers. I just need to keep taking the next step closer to God, and He will guide my footsteps.

No matter what we face, or what we are feeling, God and His all wise plan are weaving together a story for our good. He knows when we don’t know where to place our next step and when we don’t have the answers to our questions. He knows when and what we worry about. We just gotta keep our head on straight like Jesus and try not to tempt Him like the Israelites. We must keep bringing our questions to Him, striving for righteousness, and aiming for the promised land. He will lead us, walk with us, guide us, and fight for us. The King of Kings is our Father and we as His children get to be a part of His all wise plan of redemption and rescue.  If that isn’t just completely awesome, I don’t now what is. The other night, as I was standing in the hot desert of Phoenix, God chose to call out to me in the dead of night, through a song. He is still my rescue story and though I stand in the desert, I am never deserted. I love you each. Huge hugs to you all. 

Romans 8: 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


5 thoughts on “In the Desert, Not Deserted.

  1. Just love this song, my friend. It is my testimony of late. I am nothing short of astounded by the long suffering and patience of God toward me as I have continued for years with a particular problem! And yes, I compared myself to the Israelites who had seen miracle after miracle done by their God for them and yet still continued to doubt that they could trust Him!! Oh, how I have repented for my unbelief! Do I dare say it? But just as of last night I believe I had a breakthrough.
    It was as if, finally, at last, I could see what Jesus had done for me concerning this particular problem! My shoulders no longer felt the heaviness of my doubt. Yes, I do believe that by His grace and power He has set me free after many years of struggle on this same old path. Therefore, I now know that it is my choice as to which path I am going to choose each day because, humanly speaking, old habits die hard. But I know that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me and I will stand up and say today, that I choose to walk in the freedom He has bought for me! Today and every future day, there is victory in Jesus! I believe that and I promise You, Father, that being upheld by Your righteous right hand, I will walk in the freedom You have paid so dearly, to give me. Today, for me, is memorable indeed! May He be glorified in my life……….


  2. I once prayed to our Heavenly Father to have more help to pray. For the next few months, I had one temptation after another and I prayed, and prayed some more. Our God is good to teach us gently.


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