Summary: A sermon that attempts to encourage folk that even in hard times there is blessing.
Blessing in the desert.
If you were travelling from Egypt to Palestine and you wanted to get there guided by google maps you wouldn’t go through the wilderness of Sinai. Sinai is 200 miles out of the way and when you are travelling with a whole nation it would seem strange doing such a major detour. But here we are not dealing with flight Centre - God is the travel agent. (idea from John Piper.)When you travel with God you often go into places that you never dreamed of – you often go places you would not only not have planned for yourself but also you didn’t want to go.
Just as Joseph didn’t want to go to Egypt via a kidnapping and a prison cell so often we, as Christians find ourselves getting into positions via strange and sometimes difficult situations.
Recently I met a person whose Father managed a facility where a young boy drowned many years ago.
It bought the Father into the wilderness and out of that wilderness he and his family turned to God and they have followed him ever since.
Where has God taken you where you didn’t want to go?
Do you question where God has taken you?
The Israelites did they felt very deeply that God had inspired Moses to lead them into the Wilderness onto Sinai - to perish – But Psalm 78 says
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
When the people of Israel came to Sinai they met with God and received his law so that they would learn to trust in God.
We can often feel that God has lead us to the wrong place through the most difficult experiences for no good reasons.
But although you find yourself in difficult places it is those places where you encounter God’s blessing.
Zechariah 4:10New Living Translation (NLT)
10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
Sinai is a day of small beginnings – God is going to make of Israel a great nation but here camped at the bottom of a Holy mountain something great is stirring –
If the people will only trust God in the wilderness great things are going to happen.
More than this on this incredible detour they come close to the presence of God – He reveals His presence to them.
Exodus chapter 19 The Lord Visits Sinai
17And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.…
New American Standard Bible
They have already encountered God in Egypt but here they get a glimpse of the grandeur and the beauty of God and it is often in the wilderness moments of life that we get a glimpse of how great God really is.
When Jesus was in the wilderness with a vast crowd there was a problem – always in the wilderness there are challenges – that is why it is called the wilderness – John chapter 6
3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.
4The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,
9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).
11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”