Summary: In our desert journey we need shade from time to time. The Broom Tree is an interesting symbol for the shade of God in the difficult journey.
1. Making the most of a difficult situation
Maxwell tells a story that illustrates the importance of a positive attitude. A newly married woman insisted on going to the California desert so she could be near her military husband. The only place the couple could find to live was a rundown shack near an Indian village. The daytime heat was unbearable-105 degrees in the shade. The dry wind blew constantly, covering everything with dust. None of the Indians spoke English. The young wife was miserable.
Then she learned that her husband was going deeper into the desert for 2 weeks. So she wrote her mother and asked if she could come home.
In her mother¡¯s reply were these words: "Two men looked through prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars." As the woman read those lines over and over, she decided to change. She would look for the stars.
She set out to make friends with the Indians. When they saw her genuine interest, they taught her weaving and pottery. She learned their culture.
Then she began to study the desert itself-its cacti, Joshua trees, and seashells left behind by the sands of an ocean floor.
Not only did she survive, she became known as an expert on the area and later published a book about it.
2. The desert is a picture of difficulty AND opportunity
3. Genesis 21.15-17
4. The bush described here is believed by some scholars to be the desert Broom Tree which provides a spotted shade and a respite from the sun
5. This tree would prove to be important on the desert journey.
I. Relief of Shade
A. When the Heat is On We Seek Shade
If you were to walk down the aisles of any pharmacy in America you¡¯d find that one of their most popular products is pain killers. They have shelves that are packed with bottles Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Tylenol etc. If you want, you can buy them in huge jars holding 250 pills. Other shelves contain tubes of "rub-on pain relief" like Ben Gay and Aspergel. Or, you might want to check out various types of chemical ice packs and heating pads. Pain relief is big business in America. We spend billions every year because none of us want to hurt. Everyone wants to live a comfortable life.
1. Life¡¯s difficulties sap us like heat in the summer
2. Examples: Disease; Death of loved ones; Job-loss; Divorce; Rebellious child . . .
3. Some difficulties come by our own doing ¨C Adam and Eve
4. Some by the hands of others ¨C Sarah and Abraham with Hagar; 10 and 2 Spies
B. God is Our partner in the Heat
1. He is our shade
5 The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade
on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite you by day,
nor the moon by night. Psalm 121.5-6
For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall, Isaiah 25.4
2. He is our shade for the NOW
a. We still have to walk in the desert
b. But more relief is promised ¨C more Broom Trees along the way
c. Jonah received and lost shade from God ¨C more to come