The Wilderness and the Ordinary Life

I’m heartbroken as I read though Moses wilderness journey in the Exodus account. Moses was a faithful servant of God. He prayed often and sought the Lord for guidance. The Bible records that, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11 NIV).” In spite of his intimacy with God, Moses had a difficult life. He spent more time with God than he did with his family, his own flesh and blood turned on him (Num 12: 1), he watched (and actually ordered) friends and loved ones killed for their disobedience to the Lord (Exodus 33: 27-30), the rest of them died over a period of 40 years while wandering in the desert, and in spite of all that, he didn’t get to enter the Promised Land.

Moses led a rebellious people. When God got tired of dealing with their foolishness, he offered Moses greatness. God said, “I have seen these people and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation (Exodus 32: 9-10).” Moses, in his humility, turned down God’s offer for greatest. And not only that, Moses offers his life in exchange for others. “So Moses went back to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written (Exodus 32: 31).” With this simple, yet powerful statement, Moses aligned himself with the fallen people of God. He exchanges the opportunity for greatness and plants his fate in the ordinary.

I thought about this wilderness reality as I read this article.

What if the wilderness was not simply something to get over or go through, but actually a place to live? What if God asks us to firmly plant our feet in the wilderness and with the little faith, hope, truth, energy, love, and resources we have, water the dry desert? What if God simply called us to live in the ordinary?

When giving the prophecy of Jesus as servant and Lord, Isaiah wrote:

Is it too small a thing for you to be my servant

To restore the tribes of Jacob

And bring back those of Israel I have kept.

I will also make you light for the Gentiles,

That you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 49: 6

For those called to imitate Christ, that’s the question for our hearts: Is it too small a thing for you to be God’s servant where ever God places you?

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012

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