Prepared by Hesed
Hesed is Hebrew for the indescribable, undeserved love of God.
After a drive along the craggy Jordan Valley on an early morning in January 2020, we stopped by the river with our new tour family. Michael Card shared lessons about the wilderness – lessons worthy of contemplation:
- All true worship begins in the wilderness.
- Trust the wilderness.
- Wait for God to find you in the wilderness. He is a Good Shepherd!
- You will not get out by doing better things.
- We are forced to focus in the wilderness. God just wants to be with us. He is Immanuel.
Then, we drove further along the valley toward rockier terrain where we ventured into the wilderness on our own for one hour. Dusty and I climbed to our spots in the barren space of the Judean hills.
I opened my small leather journal, a gift from our hosts, and began to write my observations and thoughts.
Observations in the wilderness
- The incline of the earth and the looseness of the rocks makes it impossible to walk on most places; so, I try to walk in the footsteps of others who have already walked this way.
- The terrain is dry, hard, rocky, and unexpected.
- It is best to carry only essentials; a burden increases the energy required, and it is difficult to set belongings on the terrain without them falling over.
- The wind is predominant because there are few other distractions.
- In its dull sameness, the wilderness holds spots of beauty and order. A long line of ants marches across the earth. Some white shells seem out of place.
Thoughts in the wilderness
- My life has included a string of wildernesses – singleness, misunderstandings, misguidances, depression, a breakdown. Father God shaped me in the wilderness to reflect Him and fulfill His purpose. He brought relief, companionship, light, love, abundance, and joy when I met Dusty.
- I am in a new wilderness with my work that requires me to be alone for long periods of time. But He has brought spots of beauty along the way – beautiful people, rare gems.
- You let me be hungry in the wildernesses of my life, so I would understand that I do not live by bread alone (or by companionship, ministry, holiness), but by every word that proceeds from Your mouth. Hearing You, connecting with You is life! You fed me with manna and clothed me in Your love. (Deuteronomy 8:3-4)
- Every wilderness ends. You brought me out of the wilderness to bring me into a new land. (Deuteronomy 6:23)
- As I strain to hear Him in the wind, I think of the prophecy of Jesus from the blessing of Judah in Genesis 49:10-12. “Your eyes are dark like wine.” (Verse 12) The eyes of my Savior are deep, rich, and embracing. You are my First Love!
God prepares us in the wilderness
Jesus’ preparation in the wilderness
The Israelites’ 40 years in the wilderness foreshadowed Jesus’ 40 days and nights in the wilderness. He was tempted in all points as they were but came through victoriously. And He was faithful as the Forerunner of our faith in the wilderness.
Applications from Jesus’ time in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-14; and Mark 1:12-13):
- His time in the wilderness occurred after His baptism and anointing and before His ministry.
The wilderness prepares us for what is ahead.
- The Holy Spirit led Jesus (Mark says impelled Him) into the wilderness.
The Lord may lead us into the wilderness.
- Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights there with no food and with wild animals.
It seems like a long time and is uncomfortable.
- The devil considered Jesus’ lack of food and weariness to be an opportune time to tempt Him. Jesus rebuked the devil with Scripture, and he finally left.
We must be aware and armed with Scripture.
- Angels ministered to Jesus.
The Lord will take care of us.
The Apostle Peter gave us words of preparation for the wilderness
Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be sober and on the alert. Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. But resist him firm in your faith knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace Who called you to His eternal glory in Messiah will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5: 6-10).
If you are in a wilderness, God’s promise is that it will be for a little while. And He will perfect you! The Greek word for perfect is katartizō; it means to thoroughly complete, repair, prepare and restore! Through our suffering and wandering, He is preparing us.
John writes in the book of Revelation, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” On that day, we, the Bride, are prepared – not for the rehearsal dinner but for the real wedding feast (Revelation 19:7-9) – not to be a bride’s maid but to be the King’s Bride!
Jesus will say to us on that day, “How beautiful you are my darling, how beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves (single-focused on Him) behind your veil,” and, “You have made My heart beat faster… how beautiful is your love!” (Song of Songs 4:1, 9-10)
The Lord’s great hesed love is preparing us for that day when the culmination of all our desires will be found in Him! In the wilderness, let us worship Him, trust Him, and wait for Him with focused eyes!
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called “Hephzibah” (meaning My delight is in her),
And your land “Beulah” (meaning Married)
For the Lord delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.
Shale Fragments™ - devotionals by Beth Ann Phifer is a division of Flower Girl Greetings, LLC. ©2020, All Rights Reserved
Welcome to Shale Fragments, a collection of writings and art for individual and group use!
Teaching God’s truth and the beauty of His Word is my greatest delight! My art card company, Flower Girl Greetings, was launched in 2012 with this purpose. In April 2020, ShaleFragments.com became the gathering place for the writings.
As I have studied the rich meanings of the original Greek and Hebrew languages of the Bible, I continue to see beautiful progressions and connections that compel me to organize and convey their life-changing beauty!
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