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Wandering in the Wilderness

Negev Desert in Israel

There have been many times in my life when I have felt far from God. I listen for His voice but I cannot hear it. It’s times like these that I feel I’m wandering in the wilderness.

I am sure that many of you feel that way in the isolation of your own homes during the Coronavirus pandemic. You may feel lonely, afraid, and far away from God. You seek to hear from Him. Yet it is quiet.

Recently in my studies, I have come across an encouraging message of existing in the wilderness. A beautiful picture opened up for me in the book of Numbers. Being a western, English speaking Christian, I’ve always thought that this book was about the census of the Israelites as they wandered in the desert for forty years.

But actually, in Hebrew, the title of this book is Bamidbar meaning “In The Wilderness”. When I read it, I found that the book of Bamidbar actually chronicled the 39 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Oh sure, there is a census included, but the bulk of the book is the wilderness wanderings. The Israelites spent only one year at Mount Sinai. During that time they were constructing the Tabernacle under the watchful eye of Moses and the master architect Yahweh. Once completed, the presence of God in the cloud moved, and they were to pick up all their belongings, along with the Tabernacle, and move with the cloud. While they wandered, the presence of God was with them. When they camped, the presence of God was with them in the Tabernacle in the middle of the camp. He never left them.

That is comforting in itself, but there is more. The word for wilderness is midbar. In Hebrew, all words come from three letter consonants called root words. These three letters form the core meaning of all associated words. The root word for midbar is dbr (pronounced dabar) meaning to speak.

We should now have a better understanding of the wilderness. It is where God brings His people to speak to them. It is the place of His voice. It is the place of His nurturing and provision. On the flip side, it is where we can hear Him.

Think about that considering our current circumstance. Before Coronavirus, could we have been too busy with distractions to hear God speaking? Yet in the wilderness, where God has us right now, the distractions are less. We are here so that we might hear His voice and rely on Him for His provision, nurturing, and love.

Do not fear the wilderness because God is there. Let go of distractions and run to it, embrace it, enjoy it, and learn from Him as you sit at His feet and hear the voice of God. It is holy ground.

~ Jan Johnston

Posted by Jan Johnston with