The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord , and the excellency of our God.
Isaiah 35:1-2 KJV
In this series we have concentrated on the theme on the Voice that comes from the Wilderness. We have seen that in both prophecy and the Gospel story of John as a fulfilment of prophecy. We see Isaiah introducing the concept of the Wilderness as a centre of divine activity.
Today however we sometimes associate the Wilderness with a solitary dry place as a place of preparation and a place of where men of God were prepared in obscurity. There is however more and more as I study Scripture this connotation is not so correct. We see what is obscurity become a place of the centrality of what God does in great moments of change in His dealings with men.
Why does God exchange His centre of activity in temples and congregations to the harsh wilderness which we see here illustrated in the photos? Why does God need the Wilderness in the lives of powerful men of God?
I sense that Isaiah 40 gives us this answer when the prophet says that the mountains are made low and the valleys raised up. Therefore what we see is that it is not the huge gatherings, the normal routine of priestly sacraments, the feasts, the pilgrimages, that have a guarantee of great movements of God. Rather we see in Exodus that God speaks out of the burning bush in the Wilderness. That God was taking Israel out of Egypt into the Wilderness.
We see wilderness bring Israel into glimpses of a priesthood, glimpses of a glorious Law, and a perfect Community. This being formed in the Wilderness.
Therefore, the Wilderness, the desert is not at the margin of God’s move, but actually is the central part of preparation of new moves of God.
What is regarded as the “mountain” when the “desert” comes, that same mountain becomes a “valley” and vice versa. Today what is seen as impact does not have the same connotation to what we may have experienced 50 years ago as glory, may not be recognised today. The whole concept of ” megaChurch” may need to be remodelled, in that group dynamics can be mistaken for a move of God.
Therefore the desert will be where these contemporary realities are shaped not by trends and tendency but a move of God through the prophetic will do that!
So for some who do not have a diary full of preaching activities or a Church to pastor, would not see this as a source of frustration. Rather there is a new spiritual landscape forming. And we must acquire a Grace to envision us, and a Grace to sustain us, and a Grace to teach us. So we must embrace the Wilderness. Isaiah 35 gives us a clear vision of how God sees this operating in our lives. It is transformed without needing to leave it behind but persevere in the same place knowing that the time we let Him transform our inner man so that the Wilderness becomes a spiritual landscape transformed into a lush area of great richness of vegetation and habitation.
Isaiah 35 speaks of the highway which Isaiah 40 alludes to. The highway is for those who are redeemed and rescued. Therefore those who return to Zion are those who were fetched out. The wilderness is the place of separation FROM TO BE SEPARATED TO GOD.
So when we preach prophetically we speak of the Wilderness being a transitory experience. However the Scripture tells us that the Wilderness is a transforming experience. We must recognise the importance that we transform our desert. We don’t leave it. The lessons, the tests of faith, the acquisition of character, must remain a constant.
So our habitation in that solitary place is to bring clarity, purity, unity.
Therefore we no longer strive to leave, because God will have brought us into a experience of living face to face with Him. Therefore just as Israel built a physical Tabernacle in which the Cloud covered it. It’s glory was accessible by those sanctified for it.
The whole experience from writing the vision on the mountain to Bezaleel is constructing and moulding what was vision to be material and visible. The measurements and design was given to Moses by God. How much more is our journey in the desert to build our tabernacle.
So in this series we must dismount what are modernism and what is revealed Scripture by the Holy Spirit. May we embrace this concept.