The prophet Jeremiah declares that the people of God “found grace in the wilderness” (Jer. 31:2). Although Israel’s years of wandering were filled with challenges, the wilderness was where God shaped them and where God’s abundant grace was made manifest to them. We are living through our own kind of wilderness experience today, separated from people, places, and activities that once defined the contours of normalcy in our lives. In this series, we journey with the Israelites through the wilderness so that we can view our current experience as an opportunity to encounter God and better understand God’s purposes for us.
Sunday, June 21, 2020
God did amazing things for Israel in Egypt, but it was not until they were in the wilderness that they were granted a direct encounter with the living God. In the midst of the uncertainty and fear of our own wilderness experience, we prepare ourselves to encounter God.
Supporting One Another
Sunday, June 28, 2020
The Israelites do battle in the wilderness against the Amalekites, and their fortunes rise or fall with the arms of Moses, which hold the staff of God aloft. It is ultimately by God’s own power that Israel prevails, but their victory would be impossible without the help and support that Moses receives from his fellow Israelites.
Receiving from God
Sunday, July 5, 2020
The Israelites become anxious that there will not be enough to eat, not believing God capable of providing for them in the wilderness. As it turns out, receiving from God is about more than opening up our hands to the abundant gifts of God; it is also about letting go of our worry and trusting that what God provides for today is enough for today.
Struggling to Trust
Sunday, July 12, 2020
God delivered Israel from captivity. God provided them with food and water in the wilderness. God covenanted to be faithful to them. Yet when the people of God reach the borders of Canaan—the land of God’s promise—they balk. They struggle to trust that the God who has brought them this far can carry them any further. The wilderness can be an obstacle to faith or it can be the crucible in which deep, lasting faith takes shape.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
The people of God grow thirsty in the wilderness, causing them to wonder if God is even with them at all there in that barren place. God hears their grumbling and their cries for help, and God provides. From the most lifeless object—a rock—the life-giving force of God flows forth and sustains God’s people in their time of need.
Remembering and Hoping
Sunday, July 26, 2020
God instructs Israel to keep the Passover while they are journeying through the wilderness, and this may just be the most important action that God’s people perform during their season of wandering. When we find ourselves disoriented or in the midst of hardship, we—like the Israelites—are anchored by our memory of God’s great deeds and our hope of what God will yet do.