What to look for in the wilderness

by Phil S. Lee


COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, MI – King David had to flee into the wilderness of Judah to escape the rebellion of his son Absalom. The wilderness is a desolate and uninhabitable region with no water. Everyone feels pain when they enter the wilderness. It was the same with David.



But David actually suffered not because of the lack of water, or the desolated land, but because of his beloved son. When people face difficulties, they easily become pessimistic about their situation. However, rather than being pessimistic and resentful, David called on the name of God and approached Him. In that moment, David confessed, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps. 63:1).


Christians should realize how miserable and unhappy life without God is and have the wisdom to seek God earnestly in their circumstances. David longed for God in that difficult situation so he was able to overcome the challenges.


When we enter the wilderness, we realize the necessity of water in our bodies. But for us believers, we need the wisdom to realize how important God is to our souls as water is to our bodies.


The wilderness is like an empty field with nothing, but it provides us a precious opportunity to discover what is missing in our life and whom we can meet. In this wilderness, David was able to discover what he lacked and what was precious to him: the presence of God. The very moment he went into the wilderness, he called on God's name: “O God, you are my God” (Psalm 63:1).


In the original Hebrew text, the word “Elohim” is used here, meaning Almighty God. Even though he was in a desperate situation, even though he felt like a failure, he still called his God ‘Elohim’, Almighty God, confessing that his faith in God remained unchanged.


When people become unhappy with their situations, when they are defeated, when friends and families leaves them, and when they are abandoned, they often resent God. ‘I believed in God so desperately and earnestly, what kind of God does this to me? Is He really living?’


When we are pushed into the wilderness, we become like this. Despite this fact, David still called God Almighty his God, ‘Elohim’ in the wilderness, where he was pushed, fled and abandoned. Without faith, it’s truly impossible to call God ‘Almighty God’ in the wilderness of desolation. David was able to overcome the wilderness with his unchanging faith.


That is right. For God's people, the wilderness is a place to discover God, a place to call on God's name, and a place to meet God. The Israelites, who crossed over the same wilderness, did not call on God's name. They did not try to meet God, and they easily blamed and complained to God. As a result, they had to stay in the wilderness for another 40 years.


However, David was different. Even though he went to the same wilderness, he was able to overcome it. It was because he had discovered what he lacked in the wilderness. “Not water, not food, not a veil against the strong sunlight in day and bitter wind in night, not a shield, but I need God” so he can stand in the midst of that desolate and barren wilderness and confess “O God, you are my God.”


The field of your ministry may be a wilderness. Your life may be a wilderness. I pray that the same confession will overflow from your hearts. So, I bless you in the name of the Lord that you conquer today's wilderness.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pastor Phil S. Lee is the senior pastor of Korean New Life Church in Commerce Township, MI where he has served since February of 2014. Pastor Lee received his M.Div. degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2004 and completed the coursework of the Doctor of Ministry program at Gateway Theological Seminary. He has been married to his lovely wife, Eunshin Byon for 20 years, and they have two children, David (son) and Danielle (daughter).



#DECEMBER21


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