In the drought and the wilderness are two places we don’t want to be, but they are also two places that bring us closer to God.
“But God led the people around by way o the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the Israelites went up marshaled [in ranks] out of the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 13:18)
When the Israelites came out of Egypt, the land of their captivity, they went by the way of the wilderness toward the promised land. God consistently provided for them and this could have been a time that the people drew closer to God. Instead they continually complained and turned away from Him, causing themselves to wander the wilderness for Forty years. The Lord continually spoke to the people, and they continually turned away.
When we first leave the place of our captivity, we may soon experience a time in the wilderness. This is a time of learning to depend on God, to listen to His voice. We learn to recognize it so that we can pick it out when other voices try crowding in later. We may feel like the time before was better, but God has not left us and will continue to provide for us.
But what about after we’ve stepped into God’s plan for us and are serving God?
“And the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Go from here and turn east and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there. So he did according to the word of the Lord; he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the brook.” (1 Kings 17:2-6 amp)
God sent Elijah into the wilderness where he would have to rely on God solely to survive. God continually provided for him and kept him alive. It is a parallel to Jesus’ own time in the wilderness years later. For both Elijah and Jesus, it was a time to draw closer to God, to form a stronger relationship with Him, to learn to completely tune in to God’s voice. Soon after this, God used Elijah to bring back the rain and to perform a cleansing from serving false gods.
Sometimes we are in the wilderness to draw closer to God before stepping into an even greater role. Elijah was already a man of God, but God had even greater things for him to do than what he had already done. Elijah needed to know God in a new way than he had previously before he could step into that new role. We need to know God on a new, deeper level before we can step into a new and deeper role. Our faith needs to grow, and so we enter the wilderness. There we seek God, we depend on God, and when we step out of it, we know God in a whole new way. Our faith in Him is stronger and we are prepped to do even greater things in His Name.
“For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: The jar of meal shall not waste away or the bottle of oil fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth…The jar of meal was not spent nor did the bottle of oil fail, according to the word which the Lord spoke to Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:14&16)
Four = Life; Oil = Holy Spirit
God’s life and Spirit did not depart from that place.
Even in a time of drought in our life, God’s Life, His Spirit, will remain within us. Even when we feel empty, like we have nothing to give to others, God is sustaining us. Then the rains will come, the drought will eventually end, and our cup will overflow once more with plenty to share with others.
Often times in our ministry, we give and give until we feel depleted. It seems like we deplete faster than we can fill up. Yet God is still there within us. His fountain will not run dry. These are the times when we need to rest. These are the times when we need to allow ourselves to be fed with His Word.
Everyone goes through droughts. Everyone needs to rest and allow themselves to be fed. Just as in the wilderness, we must let God sustain us. The way He brings sustenance might not be the expected way, but to God it makes sense. I’m sure Elijah didn’t expect ravens to bring him food, and the widow did not expect her jar of oil and flour to replenish as it did. Yet He preserved and replenished. He came through and the people were stronger for it.
God will not depart from us. His Spirit rests upon us and within us. His very Life is breathed into us. The time in the Wilderness and the time of Drought will end. The rains of God will come. We just have to hold on and draw closer to Him.