Rev. Dan Puckett: Almighty God is a desert GodPublished 11:49pm Wednesday, October 12, 2011
God does not live in the desert. He lives in the heavens and inhabits the earth by His Spirit in the lives of every person who has put their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. God is a desert God because the desert is the place where He can best display His handiwork.
When you think of maturity and development in human terms, you think of growing to a point of independence, a place where you no longer need all the support systems that a less mature person needs. That is not the way with God. Spiritual maturity (i.e. growing up in God) is coming to a state of greater dependence upon him. God wants to be our All in all. God wants to be the center of our lives, our constant companion, our infinite provider, and our source for everything.
Where better place is there for God to be all of that than the desert? The desert is hot, dry, barren, and hostile. Nobody lives in the desert. Life in normal terms is unsustainable there. God led his people Israel through the desert because that was the best place to teach them dependence.
The epic trip that defines God’s power is called the Exodus, the journey from the well watered plains of the Nile River in Egypt to Canaan, the Promised Land.
There was a shorter and easier way from Egypt to Canaan (Exodus 13:17), but God did not choose that way; he led them through the Sinai Desert.
The first need in the desert was water. God brought water out of a rock at Horeb (Exodus 17:6). In that place God brought enough water out of that rock to quench the thirst of a million and a half people, plus all their livestock. While the water was gushing out of that rock in the desert, nobody doubted the power of almighty God.
The next need was food. There are no crops in the desert and there is no harvest. All you have is what you take with you. God’s provision for food is shown in Exodus 16:4-5: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.’”
The bread from heaven called manna sustained the people of Israel for forty years. Six days every week, the manna rained down at the same time every day. God’s provision in the desert could not be stored up, except on the sixth day; it was daily provision. There has never been a time since the Exodus when God’s hand was so apparent.
Do not despair of desert times when life seems barren and bleak. God is right there to provide, sustain, and protect. God is the same today as he was then. He delights in being our all in all, and is likely orchestrating our lives where he can be exactly that.