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In this week’s episode of Caleb’s journal I just like to share with you something I learnt in my studies in relation to the word wilderness, which in Greek is έρημος eremos.
In particular I was reading Mark 1:3, where Mark quotes the words of Isaiah who prophesied of John the Baptist;
WILDERNESS IS A DISCONNECTED PLACE
The word έρημος refers to a state of disconnectedness in the sense of a disconnected network. It is a wild place that is not cultivated, civilised or governed.
In many ways έρημος reflects the opposite of the Greek word for city – πόλις polis. You may recognise this word from the English metropolis which is the capital or chief city of a county or region. The word πόλις does not merely reflect a large collection of people, but rather a bustling network that arises from an interlinked connection of different individuals.
WHAT ARE NETWORKS?
Networks, like roads and lines of communication, are built upon the wisdom or ideology of a society, that which they believe in… so we could say that a city, or πόλις, reflects the ways, wisdom or ideology of the group of people that live there.
Strong vibrant cities are formed on the foundation of God’s Word and Wisdom. However, when this foundation is rejected, cities start to take on a different flavour. They start to reflect the ideologies of man which inevitably leads to a state of corruption, wickedness and injustice. It becomes difficult for one who believes in the ways of the Lord to live and walk in these places because as ideologies clash, persecution arises.
WHY GOD MOVES PEOPLE TO WILDERNESS
When this stage is reached we see that the Lord often removes His people from these places and sends them into the uncultivated, disconnected wilderness. He does not do this to destroy them, but rather it is His way of providing His people with a place of safety, away from the clutches and influences of the wisdom of man… and it is in this disconnected place that the Lord reveals Himself to His people in new and unique ways, which allows them to make new connections as new opportunities open up, establishing previously unseen pathways.
This is the purpose of wilderness. It is a place where we can reset and reconnect. It is here that the Lord reveals to us His Way and Wisdom. And it is as we, by faith, start walking in these new ways that we are in essence paving and establishing new roads and connections, based on His wisdom, which ultimately result in the manifestation of His Kingdom.
JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARING THE WAY IN THE WILDERNESS
We may now better understand the mission of John the Baptist. He was preparing the way for the first coming of our Lord. In order to do so, he had to move out from the established structure of the Temple in Jerusalem and its way of thinking and into the unstructured wilderness in order to connect with a new and deeper revelation on how the Kingdom would be manifested on earth.
This concept of being sent into the wilderness in order to reconnect and establish new ways is seen in the lives of many biblical characters including Moses, Elijah, King David and Jesus.
MOSES AND ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS
Let us take a brief look at the life of Moses. He grew up in the household of Pharaoh and was taught in all the ways of Egypt. He was highly respected and skilled and held the position of military commander. He was being groomed as a successor to Pharaoh himself.
However, the ways of the Egyptians were contrary to the ways of the Hebrews and when Moses witnessed the great persecution and injustice being perpetrated against his people, he sought vengeance by relying on his own strength. This resulted in him killing an Egyptian, and for his own safety he fled to the wilderness of Midian.
It was in the wilderness that Moses experienced a radical change in thinking.
The Lord led Moses to the household of Jethro the priest where he became a shepherd of Jethro’s extensive flock.
The scriptures do not divulge much about the 40 years that Moses spent in the wilderness but we can be assured that through the combination of shepherding and listening to the Word of God given by Jethro the priest the heart of Moses was being transformed from one who led by physical might and seeking vengeance to one who sought only to know his Lord and serve his people.
Moses clearly had a desire to deliver his people from their bondage to Egypt. A deliverance that would allow them the freedom to worship their God. With his position in the house of Pharaoh he would have been well equipped to deliver Israel from the oppression of the structure they were under. However, Israel could not worship God in the land of Egypt. Therefore deliverance from their bondage was not going to come through reforming the system.
Deliverance was to come in a new and different way wherein the Power and Name of the God of Israel would be manifested.
NEW CONNECTIONS ESTABLISHED IN THE WILDERNESS
Are you seeing the pattern?
Moses spent time in the wilderness where he underwent a transformation to pave the way for the deliverance of the people of Israel, who in turn themselves needed to leave the established structure of Egypt and enter into the wilderness, in order to worship God on a new level.
In like manner John the Baptist also paved a way in the wilderness that led to a transformation of the structures of his day. He was connecting his followers with the coming of a new reality, the inauguration of the Kingdom of God through the imminent arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But you may ask, how is this relevant for our day?
WHY WE MUST ENTER THE WILDERNESS TODAY
It may come as a surprise to you to hear that we are to go out and pave a way in preparation for the Second coming of our Lord and Saviour… And it is the nation of Israel, you and me, that have been given the mission to prepare it.
Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
I am still trying to understand exactly what the Lord means when He states that we are to go out and prepare a way using the building blocks of His Word and Wisdom. How do we give that form in a practical way in our modern world?
If you have been following our Youtube episodes you will have noted that last year, roads and highways were a bit of a theme for me… so this year I like to build on that and share with you new thoughts on the topic as they come to light.
MAKING NEW CONNECTIONS TODAY
Just as John the Baptist went out and prepared the way in the wilderness for our Lord’s first coming, so will we as the 12 tribes of Israel need to go out and prepare the way for His second coming. This Highway will be established on the Word and Wisdom of God, revealed to His people in unique and profound ways as they are cast into their own places of wilderness – places where they will feel alone and disconnected from all that they ‘know’ in their flesh minds. These times of disconnectedness may be difficult to go through, but they will allow us to hear His voice on a new and deeper level, and as we start to walk by faith in the word of wisdom which is revealed we will establish new roads and connections to form a way of life built on the wisdom, power and glory of our Almighty God.
This will transform the wilderness into a place of life and healing for all who pass through and it is the Redeemed of Israel who will be the conduits for this great display of the glory of God.
This may be a new concept for many, I too am still grappling with the enormity of this revelation. So in closing, I like to encourage you to ponder on this. You may take a few moments to open your Bible and read Isaiah 35 which speaks in greater detail of this destiny for our people and ask the Lord to open your heart in order that He may grant you understanding as to how we are to accomplish this mission of preparing the way for the return of our King.
As this is a topic that is particularly close to my heart, I like to ask you, as my fellow brothers and sisters, to please share any word the Lord may give you in regards to this as this is not an individual mission, but one that we are destined to accomplish together.