Can God Set A Table in the Wilderness?

File:1963 - Hikers heading to Malduce Peak in Dick Smith Wilderness.jpg

“They spoke against God, saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness? True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?’”   Psalm 78-19.20

These verses are speaking of the nation of Israel when they wandered in the desert. God had been sending a food called manna for a long time but the people were tired of it. They wanted meat to eat instead. God said he would send meat, but even Moses asked God where he would get meat for these thousands of people. Then God sent a wind that blew quails into their camp and they ate.

These are dark times in the world. Not only are we living through a pandemic that has turned the world upside down, but there is strife and violence within the nations. Because of global warming, we could be facing another disaster: famine.

If this happens in Western nations, where we have had plenty of food to eat all our lives, violence will fill the land. People will kill even their own neighbors for food. I pray this won’t come to pass, but as Christians we need to fortify ourselves by asking God to strengthen us and also by believing He will feed us if there is ever a shortage of food. There are also many stories in the Bible of God feeding his followers when they needed it. God has shown us he will take care of his children during a famine.

When there was a famine in the land, God fed Elijah. “Then a revelation from the LORD came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Brook of Cherith, east of the Jordan. And you are to drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”

“So, Elijah did what the LORD had told him, and he went and lived by the Brook of Cherith, east of the Jordan.  The ravens would bring him bread and meat in the morning and evening, and he would drink from the brook.  Some time later, however, the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.” 1 Kings 17:2-7

God then sent Elijah to a widow whom he knew would feed him. “Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Get up and go to Zarephath of Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” Verse 8

“So Elijah got up and went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks. Elijah called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, so that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread.”

But she replied, “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I have no bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. Look, I am gathering a couple of sticks to take home and prepare a meal for myself and my son, so that we may eat it and die.”

 “Do not be afraid,” Elijah said to her. “Go and do as you have said. But first make me a small cake of bread from what you have, and bring it out to me. Afterward, make some for yourself and your son, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be exhausted and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain upon the face of the earth.’ ”

So, she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and there was food every day for Elijah and the woman and her household. The jar of flour was not exhausted and the jug of oil did not run dry, according to the word that the LORD had spoken through Elijah.”

Notice how the widow obeyed and even served the prophet first? God sent Elijah to her because he knew her faith was great. She is a shining example for us.

When Jesus had been with crowds of people for days, he felt sorry for them and fed thousands of them with just a few fish and a little bread.

       In the book of Isaiah it is asked, “Who of us can dwell with a consuming fire?

Who of us can dwell with everlasting flames?”  (The context is seeing God in his glory when he comes again.)

The answer is:

       “He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity,

who refuses gain from extortion, whose hand never takes a bribe,

who stops his ears against murderous plots and shuts his eyes tightly against evil—

he will dwell on the heights; the mountain fortress will be his refuge;

his food will be provided and his water assured.

Your eyes will see the King in His beauty and behold a land that stretches afar.

Your mind will ponder the former terror:

“Where is he who tallies? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?”  Isaiah 33:14-18

Evil people can terrify us, but remember who made the earth, food, water  and animals. We will see the King in His beauty and wonder why we were afraid.

The Wilderness.

Photo by: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing.

I’m reading in 1 Kings now and found many interesting and beautiful things about God. And I learned something new about Elijah, a great prophet of God.

You may know the story of when Elijah was on top of Mount Carmel. It hadn’t rained for three years because the people of Israel were worshipping Baal, an evil god to whom the people would sacrifice their live children by burning them to death.

Elijah told King Ahab to bring the people and the prophets of Baal to Mt. Carmel. They would have a contest between Baal and the Lord God. They would build altars and pray; whichever God answered by fire, he was the true God.

After many hours of praying, Baal did not answer. Elijah prayed and immediately fire came down from heaven consuming the sacrifice and altar. The people said, “The Lord, he is God.”

Elijah thought the nation would change; he thought Ahab would quit worshipping Baal and turn to God, but this did not happen. In fact, his wife Jezebel sent a message to Elijah telling him she would kill him by the end of the day.

Elijah ran. He ran into the desert, the same desert that Israel had to cross to get to the promised land. And this is the part I had forgotten; he wandered in the wilderness for 40 days.

I thought of Jesus and when he went into the wilderness for 40 days. I thought of Israel and how they had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. God has patterns throughout the Bible and here was another one.

Most commentators of the Bible say Elijah was discouraged by the outcome of his work for God. He probably thought his work was fruitless and wondered why he had risked his life for nothing. He couldn’t see what God was doing or why. His faith in God was tested.

When Israel wandered through the wilderness, their faith was tested also. They came to a day when there was no water. They thought they were going to all die of thirst so they complained and wanted to go back to Egypt. They got angry at their situation. God provided them with water, not just once, but many times. They had no food left and were frightened. They didn’t trust God to feed them. They said, “Can God make a feast in the wilderness?” Yes, he can and he did. These things happened to make their trust in God strong but it didn’t work with that first generation.

For Jesus in the wilderness the test was the same. Did he trust his father? Would he complain about being hungry and save himself? No, he didn’t. He could have made the stones into bread but he knew if you or I were in the wilderness, we could not do that. He came to live a human life, depending on God for everything.

Joyce Meyer talks a lot about Christians going through a wilderness time. Everything around them feels dark and hopeless. They cannot see the way out and wonder why God allowed this to happen to them. We have a choice in these times, to trust and praise God in the midst of them, or to complain and rebel against him.

I found two songs lately that are so inspirational. The words are fitting for this subject.

No one can take away, my hallelujah.

No darkness can contain, my hallelujah.

Your cross has made the way, for my hallelujah.

From the song: My Hallelujah, by Brian and Katie Talwalt.

Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness.

Give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den.

Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense.

Then I can fight my giants with confidence.

From the song: Confidence, by Sanctus Real.

“No darkness can contain, my hallelujah.” We must not allow darkness to stop our praise and love towards God. Remember how Jesus and his disciples suffered. No one is immune to suffering; you are not alone. This world of pain is not our home; Jesus walks beside you.

God’s Patience.

The_Story_of_Cain_and_Abel_(Bible_Card)

Who is God?

I was reading Genesis and it struck me how God deals with people who have disobeyed him. He always gives them a chance to talk with him about it. He doesn’t come rushing in angry and yelling; he gives them a chance to explain themselves and ask for his help. Here are some examples of how God treated people who disobeyed him.

Genesis 3:  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day; they hid from the Lord God among the trees. But the Lord called to the man, “Where are you?”  (of course God knew where they were.)

The man answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  And God said, “Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”  Then the Lord said to the woman, “What is this you have done?  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Well, they ended up blaming each other and the serpent, and in that way they ultimately blamed God; but God still didn’t get angry. He told them the results of their sin and that he would send a Savior.

Genesis 4:  Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field Cain attacked his brother and killed him.

The Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?”  Cain replied, “I don’t know; am I my brother’s keeper?”  The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”  God then exiled Cain. He sent him away from the rest of the family.

1Kings 19:9   Elijah ran away from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. He was frightened for his life. Elijah usually went where God told him to go, but not this time.

“There Elijah went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  Elijah explained how afraid he had been and how King Ahab was trying to kill him. God told Elijah to go back home. He would be safe.

Matthew 26:   Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them, “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”  Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi! and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, Friend.”

Jesus called Judas, Friend. He told Judas at their last supper that he knew he was going to betray him. He still washed his feet and then called him, Friend. He was hoping Judas would be sorry and confess his sin and ask for Jesus’ help.

God gave all these people a chance to explain themselves. I think this shows a lot about who God is. He isn’t some angry, scary guy looking to find something wrong with us. He loves us so much he will continue to reach out to us even when our hearts are hard as steel.

Who am I?

I’m like Elijah. I’m afraid of a lot of things and I’ve tried running away from my problems and sorrows, but God always chases me down. Sometimes he does seem to ask me, “Belle, why are you here?”  He is so good to me, and infinately patient.