Today’s Devotional – July 5, 2014- “Thank God For Desert Experiences”
Today in History
1643 – The 1st recorded tornado in US hit Essex County, MA.
1687 – Isaac Newton‘s PRINCIPIA was published by the Royal Society in England. It outlines his laws of motion and universal gravitation.
The Northern War of Aggression
1861 – The battle of Carthage, MO was fought by Union General Sigel when he attacked pro-secessionist. 1863 – The battles at Jackson, MS, Birdsong Ferry, MS and Smith’s Expedition, Tupelo, MS were fought.
1934 – The “Bloody Thursday” strike saw police open fire on striking longshoremen in San Francisco, CA.
1935 – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act which basically establishes labor unions and limits the rights of employers from having non-union companies.
Global Warming Before Al Gore!
1936 – Record of 120°F set at Gann Valley, SD.
1937 – Record of 117°F Medicine Lake, MT.
Events of WWII
1941 – Germany disbanded all political parties except the Nazi Party. It gradually occurred by making the socialist and communist parties illegal, then merging some of the Conservative parties into the Nazi Party and encouraging Liberals and the Catholic Centrist parties to disband as there were going to be no more elections.
1945 – The liberation of the Philippines was declared although guerilla warfare continued.
Events Effecting Our Present Day
1950 – The Law of Return was passed by Israel guaranteeing all Jews the right to live in Israel.
1986 – Nancy Reagan cut a red, white and blue ribbon, reopening the Statue of Liberty renovation.
1994 – The United States changed its refugee policy, by sending Haitian boat people back to Haiti.
1994 – The United States announced it would refuse all further unrestricted immigration from Haiti.
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
“O God, you are my Almighty; early in the morning I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my being longs for you in an arid and weary land where no water exists, to see your power and glory as I have seen you in the sanctuary. Because your kindness and mercy is better than life itself, my lips will praise you. I will praise you while I live: I will yield up my hands in your name. My soul is filled with fat and sacrificial ashes; my mouth is filled with praise and joy filled words.” (Psalm 63:1-5)
The title of our psalm today tells us where David was when he wrote this song. God’s saints must learn to sing regardless of the circumstances of life. It is so easy to suffer and complain when things do not go our way. Keep in mind David was the king of Israel but God saw fit to have him “hid out” in his own kingdom.
Canaan was the land of milk and honey. That description teaches us that it was to be a land where there was no wants. But we must keep in mind that the most perfect place and circumstance can be a place of great testing for those the love God the most. The best and holiest of God’s people will sometimes be in a great wilderness and desert place. BUT all of the difficulties of the desert wilderness must not take away the song of joy that only God can give us. David’s psalms were often written in the place of greatest testing.
Are you in the middle of a desert experience?
Jesus experienced a desert experience that typifies the believers walk in this world. I am convinced that every Christian is in one of three positions concerning the desert experience.
1. He or she is just about to enter that unknown and difficult experience in the desert of God’s design.
2. The believer is in the midst of an experience in the desert of life like none ever before.
3. The believer has just left the experience of God’s choosing and sees and understands something of the desert never before seen and so is made stronger, more compassionate in their love for God and others, and content in the place God has lead them.
There are four characteristics of the desert.
The first is that it’s a place of isolation. There are many experiences in life that no one else can understand and go through with us. David expresses the fact that he is knowledgeable 0f these feelings. “Don’t conceal your presence from me in the day when I am in trouble; turn your ear to me when I call answer me quickly. For my days are completed like smoke that blows away and my substance as logs on a hearth. My inner man is chastised and dried up like grass; I forget to eat my food because the sound of my groaning, my bones stick to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness and an owl of the desert. I watch like a sparrow alone on the house top. My enemies taunt me all day and are madmen bringing a curse against me. My food is worthlessness and my drink weeping because of your indignation and your wrath: for you have lifted me up and thrown me down. My days are like a shadow that is stretched out; and I am dried up like grass. But you, O LORD, will endure forever; and your remembrance to all generations.” (Psalm 102:2-12) In our isolation from everyone but God, there is no one else to hinder us.
The second characteristic is the fact that the desert is adverse to moderate living. Everything that survives the desert is extreme. Nothing that lives in the desert can exist on a moderate scale. True Christianity is not moderate, it is extreme. “Truly, I say to you, “Except a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world will loseit; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man desires to serve me, let him follow me; and where I am my servant will be also: if any man will serve me, my Father will honor him.” (John 12:24-26) “If any man follows me, and pursues his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters more than me, yes, and even his own life, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his cross, and follow me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)
Third, the desert is a place where direction is difficult. Many people have been lost by just being turned in the wrong direction while in the desert. Christians without the direction of God’s Word often have no idea where to go in difficult times or desert experiences. God promises, “I will bring the blind by a road that they didn’t know; I will lead them in paths that they have never walked: I will make darkness light in their presence, and twisted direction will be straight. These things will I do for them, and not leave them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
Fourth, the desert is a place of unique and rare beauty. The thorny cactus often blooms with beautiful flowers. The colors of the arid rock and stone are infused with beauty. The barren landscape may cover a rich bounty of minerals. “The wilderness and the desert will demonstrate joy for them; and the desert will be glad and blossom like the rose. It will blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the splendor of our God.” (Isaiah 35:1-2) “Sing to the LORD, O you who are his saints, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger lasts but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:4-5)
David’s response to a very real position in the desert was, “O God, you are my Almighty; early in the morning I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my being longs for you in an arid and weary land where no water exists, to see your power and glory as I have seen you in the sanctuary.” What is your response to God? Do you whine and complain or look to Him with praise?
David continues in this psalm with these words, “Because your kindness and mercy is better than life itself, my lips will praise you. I will praise you while I live: I will yield up my hands in your name. My soul is filled with fat and sacrificial ashes; my mouth is filled with praise and joy filled words.”
Thank God today for your desert experiences that you might sing His praises.