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Our journey through our desert is a time of sifting. Expectations are like little stones that stare back at us from the bottom of a colander. In our season of waiting and longing, healing, and grieving, we admit, “This isn’t what I hoped for or anticipated.”
When we plod through the parched terrain, we notice what isn’t there: food, water, protection, and companions. Comparison creeps in and we complain. A siren should go off in our mind as we have to use discernment in what we choose next.
Psalm 106 reveals the slippery slope of unholy discontent. God rescues the Israelites from their harsh enslavement in Egypt. He leads them through parted water. They travel on the Red Sea Road with God’s provision of a pillar of clouds by day and fire by night.
Their songs and praises of his great work turn to mumbling about the manna. Their complaints reveal cravings for the rich food they had in Egypt. Rather than pour their hearts out to God or humbly appeal to Moses, they griped to each other. It spreads like wildfire.
The grumbling spirals to discontent, forgetting what God has the power to do.
They grow envious of Moses and Aaron.
They choose unbelief rather than trust.
They yoke themselves to a man-made god.
They exchange the glory for God for an empty idol.
We use godly wisdom when we glean the lessons from what went awry with an entire generation of Israelites.
In Matthew 4 Jesus models how to fight back as he walks through his own wilderness.
The desert-dwelling enemy shows up and tempts him in the same ways. He gets a zero for creativity but he soars on his tenacity.
He tempts Jesus through his appetite. Fasting for forty days leaves Jesus famished. Satan asks him to turn the stones into loaves of bread. Jesus responds with truth. He affirms that he will live on his Father’s words.
Satan takes him to the pinnacle of the temple and tries to get him to prove who he is. Jump off. If you’re the Son of God, he will save you. Jesus sees through his slithering ways and sticks to Scripture. I will not test God.
Then Satan takes him to a mountain and shows him the worldly kingdoms. He claims that he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he will worship someone or something other than God. Nope. The Son of God stays focused. He doesn’t give into the distractions.
Jesus fights back with the truth. He waits on God. After the enemy flees, God sends angels to minister to him. He emerges from the desert empowered and starts his ministry.
Friends, let’s see the distractions as the schemes that are thrown at us to weaken our faith, turn away from God, and destroy our calling.
We are equipped with the Spirit of God to make it through our moments so we can reach our milestone.