Wilderness Message

{Adapted from Sister's Connect at Dominion GateWay Center, February, 13th, 2012}

Did you make a New Years Resolution this year? Have you managed to keep your resolution so far? One of my resolutions was to start an online Bible readying plan through YouVersion, which will lead me through he Bible in one year. Truth be told, I've read through the Bible before. Second truth, I've started this plan before (this is my third time actually) & have failed. Perhaps this time will be different though...

I've recently finished the book of Exodus. I don't know if you've ever read Exodus before, but for me, reading it through this time, it was as if every day there was something new for me to ponder or be challenged with.

I've been challenged by the courage of Moses' mother & sister, two amazing women who changed history by protecting & saving Moses' life.

I've been confronted with my feelings of inadequacy, much like Moses, wondering "who am I God, that you would choose to use me?"

I've remember past springs & autumns when my house seems to be full of flied & have felt as though I can identify with the Egyptians being faced with the plagues...although I'm sure the handful of flies in my house is nothing compared to what they dealt with.

As I read about the plague of frogs & Pharaoh choosing to wait one more day for the frogs to be gone, I've wondered what I've been holding onto in my own life until "Tomorrow."

My thought process & perhaps even my value system on some levels has been reexamined as I've read over the laws God gave to His people to try & protect them from following anyone other then Him, in attempts to redeem them.

But something that has really stuck out to me I read in Exodus 7, prior to the first plague of the water turning to blood & its been on my mind ever since...
Exodus 7:16a (NLT) - Then announce to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, "Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.

Wow! Did you catch that..."so they can worship me in the wilderness." Really, worship in the wilderness? Who in the right mind would choose to worship in the wilderness? I'm not talking that mountain top experience, or standing before the vastness of the ocean, I'm talking wilderness. No thank you, I much prefer my safe, comfy church to the wilderness.

Being someone who really likes words, I thought perhaps there was more to the meaning of wilderness, then my knowledge of wilderness. So here's the definition:

noun [usu. in sing.]
an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
  • a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.
  • figurative position of disfavor, esp. in a political context
Uh, no, it's exactly what I thought it was! & the thing is, people are led OUT OF the wilderness, not INTO it!

Perhaps there was a method to God's madness. Perhaps leading the Hebrew people (& other followers of His over the years) into the wilderness has something to do with some He said earlier in Exodus 6:7 (NLT) - I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.

By being in some place uninhabited, God could truly claim His people as His won. While in Egypt, God's people were slavs, under the ownership of Pharaoh. They had already been claimed in a sense. By leading His people in the wilderness, the Hebrew people were under no rule & then God could step in & claim them as His won.

When I look at my own life, I can actually identify with being claimed as God's own in the wilderness.

The wilderness' I've experienced have helped define who I am. The wilderness is without a doubt not a place I've enjoyed being, or look forward to going back to, but it's totally uninhabited & uncultivated, a place where God can truly have His way in our lives.

The wilderness is not a permanent destination, thankfully! It's merely part of the journey to not so much GET to where we're supposed to be, but to MAKE us into who we're supposed to be.

No comments: