Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Voice in the Wilderness

Matthew 3
verses1-4 "1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "[a]
4John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey."

Before going on further, it would be great to understand the context of the word wilderness mentioned here.
Thayer Definition:
1) solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited
1a) used of places
1a1) a desert, wilderness
1a2) deserted places, lonely regions
1a3) an uncultivated region fit for pasturage
1b) used of persons
1b1) deserted by others
1b2) deprived of the aid and protection of others, especially of friends, acquaintances, kindred
1b3) bereft
1b3a) of a flock deserted by the shepherd
1b3b) of a woman neglected by her husband, from whom the husband withholds himself
Lessons I learnt

Preaching in the wilderness - John was not preaching in an easy place. It was a difficult place, a wilderness. If we look at the definition of wilderness above, you'll see it means more than just a physical location. The same word is used for people - those who have been deserted by others, directionless. Wilderness, where it is easy to be lost-there are no landmarks. But, for those who have been saved through grace, there is a time and date a milestone in our life when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Our Lord places the Cornerstone so we can know our bearing and where we came from, moving towards more fruitful regions. But, for those who have not, this milestone of cornerstone, everything is one giant wilderness, no beginning, no end, just endless monotonous sandy life. Therefore it was important for John to demonstrate preaching in the desert.
As I write this, I imagine, John standing in the wilderness and proclaiming the Word of God and people who are going through the desert, to wherever they want to go, come and listen and find a new direction, the direction to the Jordan River. "v6Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." A place they are baptised and can find rest and water in the midst of their wilderness. The river has never been far from the wilderness, its just that they couldn't find it for lack of direction. There is hope in this wilderness, because among a few other meanings is this meaning which defines the region as - an uncultivated region fit for pasturage. No one's life is hopeless. There is hope and WAY for everyone who would let God give them the cornerstone to mark the territory and know their bearing and become fruitful pastures.
Conclusion: If we are to preach the Word, lets not go to the easy places, lets go to places where people really need the Word of God. Where people really need a direction. The wilderness, representing loneliness-a need to be loved and have someone to rely on. We know THE SOMEONE on whom the lonely can rely, our Lord Jesus. Lets share, lets declare the Word of God, in the wilderness of someone's life, so that they may find direction to the Jordan river and be blessed and be freed from this life in the wilderness.

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