DayBreaks for 01/30/15 – Especially in the Wilderness
From the DayBreaks archive, January, 2005:
Matthew 22:36-38 (NLT) – “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, ” ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Think of all that Israel went through in the Old Testament. Although we tend to think that their lives were always hard, they did have good seasons, especially during the reigns of David and Solomon and a few of the other godly kings. And I would imagine that at the time the greatest commandment was given in the Law of Moses, it was a pretty good time, too. And if not, at least I’m convinced that Israel found it much easier to love God above anything else in all existence when things were going well for them as individuals and as a nation. Why do I believe that to be true? Simply because it’s that way in my own life.
But things aren’t always great, are they? There were plenty of times that Israel found themselves besieged by the enemy at the gates, being carted off to captivity because of their indiscretions, and punished severely. Did they find it easy to love God at those times? Not if they were like us, they didn’t. At least not to start with. They railed against Him, beat upon Him with their fists and words, assailed Him in their hearts and minds – and loved Him little, if at all, during those times. But over time, their tune changed and they repented and fell in love again.
Frederich Buechner wrote: To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness – especially in the wilderness – you shall love Him.
I’ve got a good friend right now who is in the wilderness. His father recently died – very unexpectedly. Just shortly before that, they’ve learned that one of their children may have a very, very serious disease, and that the future for her may be uncertain. Within the past year he also lost his job, moved twice, changed churches due to the move, left their friends behind in their old town. In short, just about every major life change has happened to them in the past 12 months. They are living in the wilderness. The wilderness is dry, dusty and windblown. It’s full of strange sounds, sights and creepy things that make your skin crawl. Yet, through it all, they are loving God and trusting Him. They have understood the great commandment – and kept it, even in the wilderness.
It’s easy to love God in the Land that Flows with Milk and Honey. It’s hard in the wilderness – and this is where we meet our truest test, where we learn the most about ourselves, but more importantly, about our God.
Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
PRAYER: Lord, we don’t like the wilderness and we don’t like struggle and hardship. Teach us the lessons of the wilderness that You need us to learn that we might learn and grow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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