I've often thought about Moses and how he spent 40 years in the desert in Midian before the Lord called him to his ministry of leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses lived in Pharaoh's digs for 40 years. He lived in the lap of luxury for his first forty years of life. He was at the top of his game. Was it enough for him? Acts 7:23 tells us, "But when he was approaching the age of forty it entered his mind to visit his brethren the sons of Israel." Was he curious how life was on the other side? Did they know or have something that he was missing as a prince of Egypt? His excursion lead to the death of an Egyptian by his own hands. (Exodus 2:15) He tasted injustice in the life of an Israelite and intervened. He had a heart even than for his people. He yearned for justice but it ended in a way that wasn't in his plan.....so he ran. He ran into the desert and fled from his life that he knew. Escaping the consequences of his actions. He was able to start anew. His life looked and felt very different from what he knew to be true in Egypt. His fresh start on life was at the bottom of the totem pole as a shepherd in the desert. Not a shepherd of his own flock but even a notch lower working as a shepherd watching someone elses flock.
I don't know first hand what its like to be a shepherd in the desert outside of Egypt but I can imagine what it might of been....long hot days and frigid cold nights alone. Watching, waiting, on guard for predators, decision making that effects your flock.....but the loudest and prominent occurrences is the long periods of time of silence on the outside but how you hear your thoughts arguing with your heart in the inside.
We all experience time in the desert. Whether you like to admit it or not. Like I said before, all our deserts may look different but I think they all are the same. It's what we do and think about when we're in the desert that determines how we come out. What do you feed yourself when you're in the desert? Do you feed yourself TRUTH or do you feed yourself the lies of your thoughts and regrets? The times in the desert are barren and no where else to run but to dig deep into your heart and see what is there. You figure out that you have nothing and nothing to give but yourself which is your soul. You can look back and remember the high life and live the life of regret or you can look around and see how God carried you there to the desert to meet Him. His glory is there in the desert. Do you see it?
Jeremiah 17: 5-10
"Thus says the Lord,
Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes,
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit."
Numbers 12: 3 tells us that "Moses was very humble , more than any man who was on the face of the earth." Living in the desert for forty years, I can imagine being there can do that to you, but only if you feed yourself the TRUTH. It was in the desolate desert that God was able to get Mose's to be quiet and still. He was able reveal to him his idols and bring him to the depths of his heart and humble him so that Moses could see His glory.
I think of our brother Job. After all he went through and wrestled with, it wasn't till God responded and told him who He truly was. At that point, Job was able to say, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; there I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6)." After forty years in the desert Moses came out the most humble man on earth. He was able to see God's glory and live, but most of all he was used by His King for HIS GLORY and HIS GLORY alone.
I don't know about you....BUT I don't want to be the bush in the desert that lives in stony waste. I don't want to miss out on seeing HIS GLORY when its before me. I want to be the tree that is green and yields fruit even in the year of drought. To be that tree I need to TRUST when I am sitting in the desert because and realize that God brought me there to rid me of the idols that I held so dear so through the time of drought I can rid the idols from my heart so that I can see HIS GLORY instead.
What do you see in the desert of your life and heart? Are you the tree or the bush?