Monday, March 7, 2022

It’s Always the Desert Places

 Monday, March 7, 2022  Some material taken from The Making of a Leader, Part 1

Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.  Exodus 2:11-12

It’s Always the Desert Places

A couple of times in scripture we see the desert used as a time for God to prepare for or teach a person, or group of people something important. In our own lives the desert is often referred to as a time of spiritual dryness or waiting on God to move in our lives. We don’t like being in the desert and we usually try to do everything we can to get ourselves out of the desert as fast as we can. But the desert is actually a very important place where very important transformations take place. In other words, when you find yourself in the desert, instead of trying to get out, ask God to show you what He is trying to teach you during this time. As hard as it can be, it is better to stay until God is ready for you to go. 

Moses found himself in the desert many times in his story. The first is when he had made a terrible mistake. As his story proves, even our terrible mistakes can be woven into God’s plan for us. He never wastes anything – not even a bad choice. He uses every part of our lives for His glory. Moses came upon an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren, and he lost control and killed the Egyptian. Then he proceeded to hide him in the sand. Long story short, the king found out and there was a manhunt under way for Moses, so he fled to Midian where he hid shepherding sheep for 40 years. Forty years later, Moses is in the desert again. 

Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Exodus 3:1

How did God use this time in the desert?

Moses had to flee to Midian – where he was humbled and disciplined by a long career of herding sheep for a man named Jethro.  Forty years later we find him on the back side of a desert tending sheep.  During this time Moses had to learn how to be a shepherd in a wilderness. he had to learn to find water, watch for predators, and be patient with the animals he was caring for. Sheep especially are not very smart. These skills built into Moses the instincts he would need to shepherd a slave people through the unfamiliar territory of not only the desert, but also of freedom. We are all like sheep – this is for sure – but the Children of Israel were particularly like sheep in the wilderness wanderings. Moses probably never would have imagined that these daily, commonplace struggles of the shepherd were training him for a great life work. 

When we are in the desert we never see the value of it because we are so focused on the struggle. The desert is not an easy place. It is hard and dry and barren. The desert is where we empty ourselves out – where we come to the end of ourselves and realize that we need God so desperately. When we are empty of ourselves, we are primed and ready to be filled by Him, to learn, to be molded into what He wants us to be. 

God can take us from where we are and make us into exactly what He wants us to be. He took Moses, who killed a man and fled for his life, and made him into the shepherd He needed him to be to fulfill His plan. When God has a plan, not even our bad choices can get in the way. He can redeem our story. He is the author and finisher of our faith. It began with Him, and it will end with Him and eternal life in Heaven, no matter how bad we mess up in between. 

If you are in a desert place now, I urge you to embrace this time, accepting that there is a reason for everything. Seek Him, draw near to Him, and open yourself to Him to mold you, teach you, and guide you through this time. 


Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

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