Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Christ-Centered Word for the Wilderness

God often brings his people through the wilderness. He did it to Israel. He did it to his own Son (Lk 4:1). The wilderness is often characterized as a place of testing. God often brings his people through the wilderness to see what is in their hearts. And often what comes out is not good. One Psalm shows how Israel responded in the wilderness: 

“They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?’” (Ps 78:18-19). 

That is not the right response in the wilderness. From my own experience and reading the Bible, it never honors God when we test and question him in our wilderness.  

Now being in the wilderness can can expose what is truly in our hearts. What do we crave in the wilderness? What comes out of our mouths in the wilderness? Those words reveal what is in our heart, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34). 

Yet there is a different perspective we can take into the wilderness. It is found in a few words in Deuteronomy: “These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing” (Dt 2:7). Those promises are always true when God brings his people through the wilderness. And in Christ there is a much richer meaning.

We can trust in his provision. We can trust that we lack nothing. In Christ we can have peace through our wilderness (Col 3:15). In Christ we can have the wisdom of God in the wilderness (Col 2:3). In Christ we can have contentment in God’s provision during our wilderness sojourning (Phil 4:11-13). 

In Christ we have everything we need for the wilderness. 

I hope that brings encouragement and hope to those who are either in the wilderness, or will begin to sojourn soon in the wilderness. Christ is with you and you lack nothing in the wilderness. 

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