A Desert Place

Having just returned from a trip to Israel, I have so many thoughts and impressions which I have to contemplate, process and digest. In the few days we were there we went from one end of the country to the other and of course each place left a lasting impression.

One of the memories I have was of the Negev desert and the wilderness of Zin. Before going, I was told of its beauty, the wonderful hues and shades which change with the sunlight. However, although all that is true, I had some very different impressions while there, and it left me with fearsome memories. I was struck by the total barrenness of the area. Miles and miles of rocky, sandy land with no water to be seen, except in the few wadis (waterholes) which are few and far between. Not only were there no trees or plant life, but I was struck by the fact that so little wildlife is there. A few Ibex (mountain goats) and very little else.

Thinking back to the Children of Israel, how awful would it be to be wandering in the desert for 40 years and to know nothing else? How terrible to be lost in it! Each area looks the same and without direction one could easily become lost.

At night, the desert is pitch black and very warm, not cooling down much from the daytime. It gives the impression of a black, heavy blanket being thrown over your head, causing a claustrophobic effect. When a breeze does stir up it is a warm wind and the biggest effect it has is to fill your eyes, nose ears and even mouth (if you don”t shut it), with sand.

The Hebrew children were in the wilderness 40 years because of disobedience. How sad! But it is a perfect example of how much we miss when we don”t obey our Lord”s commands or follow in His Will. When we deliberately disobey, we deny ourselves so much of the refreshment of God”s presence and our lives become barren and empty, just like the desert. Not only that, but others are not refreshed or blessed by His spirit flowing through us and therefore lives are not touched for His Glory.

Thankfully, if we have known what it is to walk daily in His presence, we will soon realize how miserable we are in this “wilderness” state and come back to the Lord for forgiveness and renewal. But for those who continue to walk without Christ, they know nothing else but the desert. Some of the Hebrew children were born in the desert and knew nothing but the desert, not realizing the reason for their misery.

We had a pleasant grill in the desert one night with an explanation of the Gospel from the stars, but even then I was thankful for the other team members and glad to get back to civilization at the end of the evening.

Arriving back in fertile area, the green seemed greener, the water more clear and it was like a feast of refreshment for my eyes to see colors other then shades of brown/beige. This reminded me of the blessing of the Holy Spirit in our lives, making our lives fruitful for the Kingdom of God.

The experience left me with the reminder that there is no better place to be than close to the Lord and living in his perfect Will. If you have gotten into a wilderness place, don”t stay. Ask Him to forgive you and fill you with His Holy Spirit. If you don”t know Jesus as your Saviour, He will forgive your sins and bring you out from the desert place if you ask Him to. He says in John 4 v14, “Whoever drinks of the water which I will give him will never thirst, but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain springing up into everlasting life.”

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