Friday, April 23, 2010

Desert places

I was reading Joshua chapter 24 yesterday.  You can read the entire chapter yourself, but allow me to paraphrase what God said...
Long ago... I took... Abraham... I gave him Isaac and to Isaac I gave Jacob... and his sons went down to Egypt.  Then I sent Moses... and I brought you out ...  You saw what I did to the Egyptians at the Red Sea...
Then you crossed the Jordan and... I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build.
Sandwiched between God's mighty works are 10 little words.  "Then you lived in the desert for a long time." 40 years is a long time to live in the desert.  Sometimes we live in a desert for a long time--waiting for God to move us on to a better place.  When we are in the desert it's easy to idealize the past (So you want to go back to Egypt?) or dream of the future (Where is that promised land anyway?) and complain about the present.  The Israelites' desert experience was marked by a lack of trust resulting in grumbling.  It was only when it was over and they were entering the promised land that they acknowledged that God had been with them the ENTIRE journey.
It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our ENTIRE journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. (Joshua 24:17)
If you are in a desert place, He is there.  He has been there and He will be there for the entire journey.

I wonder how it must have felt
When David stood to face Goliath on a hill
I imagine that he shook with all his might
Until You took his hand, and held on tight

'Cause You were there, You were there
In the midst of danger's snare
You were there, You were there always
You were there when the hardest fight
Seemed so out of reach
Oh, You were there, You were always there
You were always there

So there he stood upon that hill
Abraham with knife in hand was poised to kill
But God in all his sovereignty had bigger plans
And just in time, You brought a lamb

'Cause You were there,
You were there
In the midst of the unclear
You were there, you were there always
You were there when obedience
Seemed to not make sense
You were there, You were always there
You were always there

So haven't I learned that my ways
Aren't as high as Yours are
And You alone keep the universe
From crumbling into dust
You are God and though we would
Not have understood You
There You were

Hanging blameless on a cross
You would rather die than leave us in the dark
Every moment, every planned coincidence
Just all makes sense
With Your last breath

You were there, You were there
During history's darkest hour
You were there, You were there always
You were the Victor and the King
You were the power in David's swing
You were the calm in Abraham
You are the God who understands
You are the strength when we have none
You are the living, Holy one
You were, You are and You will always be
the Risen Lamb of God

(You Were There, Avalon)

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