The burning crucible of the desert

The burning crucible of the desert

Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart. – Proverbs 17:3

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

Deuteronomy 8:2-18

 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.

 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

 5 Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.

 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills.

 14 do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.

 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.

 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, “I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.”

 18 Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful.

The film The Ten Commandments was released in 1956. It was filmed in Egypt, Mount Sinai, and the Sinai Peninsula. In 1957, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards. It is also one of the most financially successful films ever made, grossing approximately $122.7 million (equivalent to $1.17 billion in 2020). In 1999, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” American television has aired the film in prime time during the Passover/Easter season every year since 1973.

The movie dramatizes the biblical story of the life of Moses, played by Charlton Heston. Moses is the man that the God of Israel chose to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Before Moses became the leader of men, he became the leader of sheep. Because of Pharaoh, he leaves Egypt. He has to pass through the terrible desert on his way to the land of Midian and Mount Sinai. In Midian, he settles down, gets married, and becomes a shepherd. He thinks to himself, “Whatever happens in Egypt, stays in Egypt.” Life is good.

How did the Father prepare Moses to become the leader of the Exodus and free the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage? The Father led him into the harsh and terrible wilderness. Moses’ life expectancy was practically zero. It was a time of testing and preparation. Recall that much the same thing happened to the Lord Jesus Christ before He began His work as the Messiah of Israel.

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.

As Moses wanders in the desert, he is repeatedly near death and is filled with uncertainty and fear. Yet, a remarkable inner transformation occurs. As he wanders, a narrator speaks in the background.

“He cannot cool the burning kiss of thirst upon his lips nor shade the scorching fury of the sun. All about is desolation. He can neither bless nor curse the power that moves him, for he does not know where it comes.”

“Learning that it can be more terrible to live than to die, he is driven onward through the burning crucible of the desert, where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged for God’s great purpose, until at last, at the end of human strength, beaten into the dust from which he came. The metal is ready for the Maker’s hand.”

The wilderness becomes a metaphor for preparation. The wilderness has been dubbed the backside of the desert, where the Father meets and prepares people for service.

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father has prepared personalized, specially designed experiences for the wilderness journey of every child of the King.

Father thank You for leading me into and out of the wilderness You prepared for me long before the earth was created.

INSIGHT

All too often, children of the King struggle with the adversity they face. Many of them succumb and give up and throw in the towel. Others persevere and become overcomers. We are vitally connected to the greatest Overcomer of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. He encourages us, strengthens us, and shows us how to stand firm and endure.

John 16:33 Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

It is an open secret that the Father tells us repeatedly throughout the Scriptures. Adversity builds endurance and character.

Romans 5:3-5

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

The purpose of the wilderness is no mystery. The Father spelled out 3500 years ago.

Deuteronomy 8:2-16

 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.

 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

 5 Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.

 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.

The Father leads every child of the King as they walk through the wilderness. In the wilderness, we are humbled and learned to depend upon him fully and completely. He tests us to determine if it is in our hearts to obey when things go from bad to worse.

The Father leads us through the rough times. His stated objective is to do us “good in the end.” This was not always apparent when we were in the wilderness. That’s where faith and trust come in. In fact, our faith and confidence grow as we see Him faithfully care for us.

The wilderness is where we learn to trust and respond in faith. We are humbled and cease to be full of ourselves. What we learn in the desert prepares us well for what happens next. We learn that the Father is the source of our ability to have success.

“What you resist persists” (Carl Jung).

¯\_()_/¯

© Dr. H 2022

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