...Caught in captivity (Egypt)
We all have our own Egypt-- the list is legion I'm sure.
If you are currently in a place of bondage to a particular sin, stronghold or station, you are very aware of how miserable your place of captivity is. You don't need anyone to tell you. Whether it is an illness you didn't ask for or a tidal wave of temptation that has swallowed you whole, probably doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is that it sucks the life out of you. It dominates your day and rules your nights. It steals your joy and sears your soul. Often we are helpless to deliver ourselves. We can become too beaten down to even hope or try anymore. But there is hope!
Whatever our lot in life, there IS good news! For God says to our task master, our oppressor ; "Let my people go!"
In the course of convincing Pharaoh to let His people go, God warned of the many plagues that would occur in order to effect the exodus. The road to rescue and recovery is often arduous, the adversity of an adversary can be be as relentless in its pursuit of us as pharaoh was with the the Israelites.
Adversity propagates Gods purpose so that His power is seen and His name proclaimed.
Adversity brings us to our knees so we can see God, grasp grace and walk in faith.
Adversity can often lead us on a pilgrimage through an arid land.
But, there is hope in the journey. There is help in the waiting.
The wellspring of deliverance awaits.
...Stuck in Sinai (round and round we go)
Desert drudgery. Are you tired of circling around the same mountain of adversity?
Essentially that's what the children of Israel did. They circled Mt. Horeb over and over again. They walked the scorching sands of Sinai in bitter protest and faithless purpose. They lost sight of the goal...to hear the voice of God and learn the lesson of leadership through the wilderness experience. They walked in circles around the problem and missed the point... hearing God speak through the suffering and learning to trust in the crisis.
But Moses heard, he heard God speak from a burning bush. "When the lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush...I have indeed seen the misery of my people, I have heard their cry, I am concerned about their suffering."
Did you catch that? The lord saw Moses HAD GONE to look at the bush. God was at a distance watching Moses walk up to the bush. Then, God called to him from WITHIN the bush. God MOVED! How awesome is that? God sees our plight, prepares our deliverance and then moves to where we are to bring relief and revelation.
Is a darkness of despair your mountain right now? While it is true we are to walk in the light, "There comes a time, as you draw close to God, that you are consumed with darkness. This is true when you are abiding in the shadow. The closer you get to God, the less you understand Him. In the darkness of His presence, under the shadow of the Almighty, we learn to believe." (1)
A.W. Tozer put it another way; That God can be known by the soul in tender personal experience while remaining infinitely aloof from the curious eyes of reason constitutes a paradox best described as, Darkness to the intellect but sunshine to the heart." (2)
It's been said that faith looks at God, unbelief looks at the obstacles... so, look for the burning bush, that THING God is using to get your attention, and experience Him come to you in that place.
"The tragedy of our wilderness experience is not that we have to go through grief and suffering, but that we often miss the blessings from burning bushes--the things through which God speaks."
"This is the lesson of the desert. When your branches are barren, when all your buds have dried up, when your leaves droop in discouragement--remember your roots. Remember that just beneath the sand there are underground reservoirs where the water is pure...and know that in your season, you shall bear fruit again." (3)
...Possessing the promise land
The promise land. Heaven!
Heaven is so much more than "streets of gold and gates of pearl."
Job commented that, "The earth takes shape like clay under a seal."
Molded by its impression, I believe earth is the mirror image of heaven. I'm convinced God took the trees and the meadows, the grass and the leaves, the stones and the streams, the rolling hills of heaven and gave us a tangible taste of our future home.
"The land you are crossing (into) is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end."
In my mind, I see The Lord coming to greet me barefoot, on the banks of the Jordan and asking; "So, want to go for a walk with me?"
Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?
Who is like you-
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your inheritance-
"Then there will be... no going into captivity, no cry of distress in the streets."
Then may you say with Joseph, "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering."
(1) Corrie ten Boom
(2) A.W. Tozier, The knowledge of the Holy
(3) Jamie buckingham, A Way Through the Wilderness.
Exodus 9:13 Exodus 3:7, 3:4 Job 38:14 Deuteronomy 11:11-12
Exodus 15:11,13,17 Psalm 144:14 Genesis 41:52