Alone in the desert
“Alone in the Desert”
December 5, 2004
Deuteronomy 32: 10 – 12
Moses; Israelites experience in Egypt and in wilderness
1. In the Wilderness
Following God led them to a desert, vast and dreadful desert (a barren and howling waste)
Sometimes, it feels like following God has been a complete waste. You meet desert land, a wasteland.
Your hope and strength are all gone; your patience and your will to persevere are wasted… All you can do is collapse and weep.
Out of slavery to desert land . . . what a lot!
Out of addiction to unbearable sense of emptiness and void. (We all live addicted lives without Christ.)
Many times, the Israelites complained and desired to go back to Egypt, to slavery.
When we leave the life of sin, when we struggle to get out of addiction, there are always these powerful and lingering propensity and attraction to go back. (The voice whispers, “It’s not worth it. You are wasting your time. You’re a loser either way. Look at you. You’re so pathetic.”)
Cf. Illustration of a drug addict (두레마을)
So, you come to a wasteland, completely exhausted, ready to fall and die.
You cry out to God.
“Where are you God? Do you know my pain, my hurt, and my suffering?
I’m so thirst, hungry, dried up. What are you doing? Do you really love me? The pain is more than I can bear.
In the wasteland, we can make two choices.
One is to complain and curse God.
Like Job’s wife, curse and die, or swear to yourself you would not believe and trust in that kind of God anymore who took away the last glimpse of hope and who put me into despair and pain. You swear, I’ll have nothing to do with you anymore.
(cf. Salieri’s example – out of unbearable jealousy, he burns the crucifix and swears to God’s face . . .)
The second choice is, in the midst of the pain and sufferings of desert and wasteland experience, you say to yourself.
Even if I die, I’ll die praying.
Even if I die I’ll die in God’s word.
Even if all my logic, intelligence, experience say otherwise, I’ll yet to trust God.
Even if they say to me, look at yourself. God doesn’t love you. God doesn’t exist. You are wasting your life, you say I’ll die praying, I’ll die meditating on the word of God.
I’ll die trusting God and praising him.
This is the moment when God meets us.
When I don’t have anything, when I’m completely empty-handed; no one to depend on, all alone, God meets us personally.
And then, he touches our hearts . . . And he comforts us.
And he says,
“My son, my daughter . . . I love you so much.
2. God’s relentless love
Then, you ask the question. Then why does God allow such pain and suffering?
If he loves us so much, why am I in the wasteland, in the desert, dry, thirsty and hungry?
Undivided attention when the eaglets are born - When the parents deem it is time to get the babies out of the nest, they will not bring food to the nest, but will fly by with food dangling from their feet—giving motivation to the babies to follow them. This is the right time for them to be taking off!
Each time a parent came flying in to toward the nest he called for food eagerly; but over and over again, it came with empty feet, and the eaglet grew thinner. He pulled meat scraps from the old dry-up carcasses lying around the nest.
Days passed, and as he lost body fat be became quicker in his movements and paddled ever more lightly when the wind blew, scarcely touching the nest edge; from time to time he was airborne for a moment or two.
Parents often flew past and sometimes fed him. Beating his wings and teetering on the edge of the nest, he screamed for food whenever one flew by. And a parent often flew past just out of reach. Although he was hungry almost all the time, he was becoming more playful as he lost his baby fat.
An animal of speed, very good vision, and power: An American eagle can fly as fast as 100 miles an hour in any direction!
the wings of an eagle stretch about seven feet wide.
Eaglets begin to grow feathers when they are about four weeks old, and cannot tear up their own food until they are six to eight weeks old. They finally leave the nest when they are about ten to twelve weeks old, but cannot fly very well at first. For several months the parents feed them until they are able to fend for themselves as hunters and gatherers of food.
When the time comes for the young eagles to begin to leave the nest, and learn to fly, they are at first very fearful. The nest is so comfortable, safe, and secure. Who would ever want to leave it? Mommy and Daddy provide food and protection. Why shouldn't the little eaglets just stay there for the rest of their lives?
But no -- they must fulfill their calling in life. They, too, must learn how to soar, and ride the winds, and mount the heavens!
To convince the little eagles that the time has come to leave the nest, the parent eagles "stir up the nest." That is, they rough it up with their talons, and make it uncomfortable, so that sticks and sharp ends and pointy spurs stick out of the nest, so that it is no longer soft and secure, ruining their "comfort zone." The nest is made very inhospitable, as the eagles tear up the "bedding," and break up the twigs until jagged ends of wood stick out all over like a pin cushion. Life for the young eaglets becomes miserable and unhappy. Why would Mom and Pop do such a thing?
The primary and supreme purpose of our existence is to know God and have fellowship with Him.
God will do anything for that.
He even sent his own son to die for that.
He will send you to desert, to wasteland if he has to so that you can find him and you could be found by him so that in the wasteland in nothingness, you may realize that what you truly need is God; in fact, the only thing you need is God (not the luxuries of Egypt, not the sins that trapped you , entangled you and enslaved you.)
God doesn’t want us to live as slaves, the crippled, the blind, and as addicts.
That’s way he leads to the edge of our life, to the threshold.
To desert, to wasteland
So we lose all our fats of sins, greed, vanity, pride, selfish-ambitions, and stand alone and meet God. With empty hands, empty body, and empty hearts. Meet god intimately and personally
He says, I want you to meet you alone, without the bagages of lust, greed, envy, jealousy, and I want to pour out my love upon you.
I want you to be an eagle who soars up and flies high in the sky with freedom, not a chicken that flutters its wings and fall in a cage.
3. The Lord Alone