Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 7, 2019
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, as on the day of testing in the wilderness…Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:7-8, 12-13 (NRSV)
Today, many Christians around the world wake up to a new season in the life of the church. Lent is a season of preparation and anticipation for Easter. Before we join Jesus in the joy and victory of Easter morning, we are first invited to journey with him into places of brokenness and need, both in the world around us and in our own hearts and lives.
During this season Christians often view this journey through the lens of the wilderness imagery of the Old and New Testaments. From the days of Israel wandering the wilderness to the temptation of Jesus, this is a central and reoccurring theme in the Biblical narrative. It is no surprise then, that the author of Hebrews reminds the reader of this powerful image, quoting from Psalm 95. And in these ancient words we see both the challenge and the opportunity of wilderness seasons.
On the one hand, wilderness seasons bring with them very real testing and challenges. As anyone who has navigated one can attest, life in the wilderness can be isolating and disorienting. We easily forget where we came from and where we are going. We begin to question why we set out on this journey in the first place! In many ways, this is natural and to be expected. The wilderness is not a place to make a home but is meant to be passed through. Yet the journey itself will leave a mark on our lives and shape the kinds of people we become on the other side of the experience.
Following Jesus into the wilderness is a choice to let go of comfort and familiarity in order to see him with renewed clarity and conviction. It is an invitation into deeper discipleship, trusting that he is leading us towards a glorious future where he will walk with us every step of the way. Yet the author of Hebrews also knows this is meant to be a communal journey! We need the gift of other Christians to join us in the wilderness, speaking truth over us when we are prone to forget our identity and our direction.
The wilderness can be a scary and painful place, especially as we peel back our layers of self-sufficiency, autonomy, and pride. Yet as we journey together as the people of God, we learn that it is possible to remain vulnerable, transparent, and receptive to God, even in the midst of the harshest terrain.
Father, thank you for the gift of wilderness seasons. Give us brothers and sisters to journey with so we may be strengthened to strengthen others as we follow your lead. Amen.
Are you isolated and alone in your faith journey? How can you take a step towards Christian community today?
Wilderness seasons bring with them testing and challenge, but it’s in this place of desperation that God meets our deepest needs. #wisdomhunters #wildernessseasons
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