Desert Lessons

How did they miss it?

A pillar of fire by night, a pillar of cloud by day. The presence of God manifested physically in their camp and God’s people still complained, and disobeyed. When the Israelites were set free they some how overlooked the power of God. His provision of food was not enough, they craved more. And there were multiple rebellions against the order God put in place with Moses as their leader.

When I read this I immediately thought of God’s people, today.

Could we be missing it?

Could becoming complacent with the presence of God lead us to crave more than what He has given us? And does this near sighted behavior produce a complaining, disobedient spirit?

I spoke with someone the other day who is always depressed. She is depressed because no one is asking her out, she is single and getting older. We talked about it for a while. She is stuck in this cycle of pain of not feeling attractive, and then eating as a way to cope with the loneliness and pain. Obviously, over eating just makes the problem worse.

How does she break free?

Well first she needs Jesus and His love, because there is no power apart from Him. But also to focus on the pillar of fire and cloud in her life.

When the Israelites were in the desert somehow they became used to the presence of God, so much so that they forgot His power. Right in front of their eyes was a literal manifestation of God’s power. Yet they never fully surrendered to Him. If they would have, they would have just entered the Promise Land. But because of their unbelief and disobedience they were forced back into the desert to wander for 40 years.

We need to learn from their example, so our lives are not a similar example.

We may not see a pillar of fire, but we have the Living God in our camp, on our side. But we can fail to tap into that power because we are so fixated on our circumstances. The Isrealistes let their circumstances take them over to the point where they couldn’t see God. The result was unbelief and a complaining, disobedient spirit.

When I meet someone struggling with depression I always ask them if they have ever been out of the country, to a place where extreme poverty exists. My trips to Africa and Guatemala really changed my perspective in a time when I was focusing too much on myself, and struggling with depression. It is amazing how seeing poverty first hand changes your attitude, and puts your attention on God with a spirit of gratitude. But if if the spirit of gratitude is based on the blessing it will be short lived. It needs to redirect our attention to the Giver.

With your eyes focused on Jesus, you can’t help but be thankful and joyful. That attitude is contagious and such a blessing to be around in this world. You never know, that attitude may just be what attracts that person you are looking for. Regardless… it will give you strength to conquer your circumstance. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

In the end, there is a power in our camp, His name is Jesus. And when our eyes are focused on ourselves they can’t be focused on Him. He tends to speak when He has your attention, your eyes. And in that conversation He may just move some mountains for you.

Psalm 20:5  We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests!


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