So, I don't know if you've noticed but there are is a major geographical theme happening in the Bible. Now, its a pretty obvious one just because of where most of the Bible takes place, but for the purposes of this post I like to forget about the practical reason for all the deserts ( not to be confused with desserts...man, that one extra "s" and you've got a completely different feeling! But I digress) and instead focus on the application reason for all of them...I mean, think about it! How many hardcore biblical characters wandered around in deserts...without even looking at my bible I'm going to list a few: Abraham, Hagar, Moses, ( ALL the Children of Israel) Elijah, David, John the Baptist...there are a ton. And it always seems like a lot of learning happens out in the desert, doesn't it? This is beyond encouraging on so many levels, but, while I was doing my Sit Down with Jesus a few days ago, I was struck by a brand new 'desert' moment, here it is:
"And an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the South to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch...He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah..." Acts 8:26-39
Now, I totally stopped quoting there, but if you're not familiar with this story, or haven't read it in a while go to the book of Acts in your Bible and finish it up...but for now take a little look see and check out what smacked me in the face:
THIS IS A DESERT PLACE.
Umm..yeah, for a little background, up until this point the book of Acts its pretty much stock full of CROWDS of people. I mean, after Jesus died on the Cross the disciples had their HANDS FULL with all the witnessing and the saving people and the growing of the Church. Everywhere you look there are literally THOUSANDS of people being saved and following Christ! Its pretty incredible. And then we get to this little incident. Where the Lord tells Philip ( who was probably use to the crowds and the major evangelistic moments by this time) and he tells him to head off to this certain location. Which, oh yeah, P.S. its a DESERT.
I wonder what Philip thought about that. I wonder if he wondered if the Lord was maybe a little off in his GPS. I mean, there was a lot of work to be done in the cities and villages! There were hundreds of thousands to be told about Christ! I mean, the harvest was just RIPE for the picking! But, instead he's sent off to the desert. Which is where the word "deserted" comes from. ( How could the Lord POSSIBLY have anything good happen out there?!?)
And yet, in this barren waste land of a spot, on this little road "in between" there was ONE GUY who was in need of instruction.
JUST ONE GUY!
I think sometimes God sends us to Desert places. And sometimes he even interrupts us in the middle of doing "his business" in some busy locale and tells us to head off to that deserted spot. He seemingly stops "all the amazing work" that we're doing and tells us to go somewhere quiet, somewhere slow, somewhere where nothing ever seems to happen.....and yet, I guarantee He has a reason!
I don't know where you're located right now...if you're in the "busy city" of Jerusalem of your life or if maybe you're in the "desert road" that's outside-but let me assure you, there is a reason for both! There just might be just one person that's out there in the desert who needs your company, or maybe there is something out there that you need to see, but whatever the case when the Lord tells you to head into the desert, do what Philip did...arise. You'll find something good there. Promise.
And now for des(s)ert!