Friday, November 21, 2008

Dining in the Desert

They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert?” Psalm 78:19

Devotional:

The news is bad on every hand. The headlines are filled with bad news. Recession. Maybe even depression? Millions of people have lost their jobs. Every day it seems another company announces thousands of layoffs.

Wall Street needs a bailout. Detroit needs a bailout. State and city governments cannot pay their bills. Millions of people have lost or are in the process of losing their homes. These are hard times. This is a desert situation.

Sometimes in our lives we have desert experiences. Dry times. Desperate times. Times when there seems to be no productivity. Everything is dried up. There is no rain, only famine. Sometimes we are not only in a physical or financial desert, but a spiritual one.

We are disconnected from God. We feel deserted. We feel like God has left us and He really doesn’t care. If He really cared, we ask, why would He let me be in this place?

After they left slavery and Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land, the children of Israel encountered the desert. They asked the question, “Can God spread a table in the desert?”

You might be asking the same question. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach and you don’t know how you’re going to put food on your table, much less a Thanksgiving spread or buy gifts for your children, you might ask, “Can God spread a table in the desert?” As you look at your finances and you have more month left than money to pay the bills, you might say, “Can God provide for me in the midst of a recession?” As you decide, 'do I fill up my car or fill my prescription' or when you cringe when the phone rings, knowing that it’s another bill collector trying to get money that you don’t have, you might wonder, “Can God make a way in the desert?”

Perhaps your finances are fine, but your relationships have dried up. Your husband has said, “I don’t want you anymore.” Your children are disobedient and distant. Your boss disrespects you. Your friends and folks at church who you thought were your friends don’t talk to you anymore, as a matter of fact, they’re talking about you.

Maybe you have lost your connection to God. The sweet communion that you once shared has been cut off. You question if he cares or maybe the cares of life—the disappointments of life or the rejection of those who should have embraced and loved you—have squeezed the life out of you and you’re too tired, scared or angry to reach out to God again.

You say, like the children of Israel, “Can God spread a table in the desert?” Can God really supply my needs? Does He really care?

The good news is that not only can God spread a table in the desert, but He can also make streams of water flow out of a rock. He can rain down manna from heaven and rain down meat like dust. He can provide for His people in the midst of a famine. He can refresh and revive you in the wilderness. You can dine in the desert.

You might have to eat bologna instead of steak. You might have to wear Payless instead of Prada. You might have to shop at the Salvation Army instead of Saks. You might have to cut the karate lessons for the kids or borrow movies from the library instead of going to the show. But God will give you what you need.

The desert can be a lonely place. But it also can be a place where you can see God clearer than you’ve ever seen Him before. When you go through the desert you can come out bitter or you can come out better. The desert can mold you and make you or it can break you. In the desert, God can burn away the pride and arrogance and teach you to depend on Him. Your trials and testing are leading to your triumph. Moses, David and Jesus all had their wilderness experiences. In the desert, they were prepared for their ministry.

If you’re in the desert, don’t give up. And don’t be like the children of Israel who had a spirit of complaining, bitterness and discontent. Instead of asking, “Can God spread a table in the desert?” ask yourself, “Is anything too hard for God?”

Reflection:

Are you in a desert financially, emotionally or spiritually?

How did you get to this place? Poor decisions, uncontrollable circumstances, bad planning, negative reactions?

Do you believe God can prepare a table for you in your desert situation?

Application:

· Evaluate: Where am I and how did I get here?

· Go Forward and Forgive: Is there any garbage that I need to get rid of? Am I engaged in relationships that are destructive that I need to leave behind? Is there someone I need to release and forgive for what they have done to me? Do I need to seek forgiveness for something I’ve done to someone else?

· Pray and Praise: Pray for God’s guidance, direction and presence in your situation. Stop complaining and start praising. It will help put your problems in perspective and help you to see who God is and that He is able to help you in your circumstances.

· Plan and Pursue: Make a spending plan. Make a plan to change your life. Do you need to go back to school, train for another profession or pursue your passion? Make a spiritual plan to spend time with God, read His Word and fellowship with other believers who can encourage you. Put your plan in action and don’t give up, even if you slip up. Work hard and trust God for the outcome.

Scriptures:


But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19


And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8


And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35


Be careful for nothing: but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for providing for me, even in desert situations. Let me come out of the wilderness better, not bitter.

Amen

1 comment:

Lisa Maria Carroll said...

I was with you until I had to eat bologna. That's where I draw the line. But, I'm not above PB&J.

I often tell people that when there's a famine in Canaan, there's a harvest in Egypt. Remember during the years of the bumper crops, how Joseph took a portion of the crops and stored them up? Then, during the drought, when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he asked his sons why they were standing around looking at each other.

Yes, these are tough economic times, but I believe there's a harvest stored up somewhere. Truth be told, there are some cities, businesses and industries that are growing against the economy. The question is, are we willing to go to the harvest, or are we sitting around waiting for the harvest to come to you?

Many blessings to you and yours.

Lisa

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