Summary: Livin’ Thru The Dry Times. Learn survival lessons and tips.
No one likes to talk about the dry times. At least that is true most of the time. Les Stroud who stars in SurvivorMan not only talks about it he films it and profits from dry times. We prefer that everyone would believe that we are always living the good life. That everything is perfect. That we are always blessed, always shouting and always on cloud nine. We have bought the concept of fake it until you make it. Keep the smile on your face even though you are dry. Never let them see you sweat! We have heard that God doesn’t intend for us live in survival mode and that He has significance for us. And so we don’t talk much about how to survive. However, if we would be totally honest this morning the truth is that many of us are living smack dab right in the middle of dry times. We are just trying to make it, to get by by the hair of our chinny chin chin.
Either Job didn’t get the Christian Etiquette Handbook that teaches us to fake it or perhaps he was the predecessor of SurvivorMan because he was brutally honest about dry times and his spiritual condition. Hear the sound of the desert in his declaration.
Job 23:1-3; 8-9; 17
2“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground.
My complaint is legitimate.
God has no right to treat me like this—
it isn’t fair!
3If I knew where on earth to find him,
I’d go straight to him.
8“I travel East looking for him—I find no one;
then West, but not a trace;
9I go North, but he’s hidden his tracks;
then South, but not even a glimpse.
17I’m completely in the dark,
I can’t see my hand in front of my face.
Have you ever felt this way? God is missing in action. You can’t find him anywhere. You feel like you have been forgotten at best and forsaken at worst. Completely dark and hopeless. No trace of God just when you needed Him. Instead you are dry, lonely, empty and don’t know where to go. That is the wilderness. That is the dry times in a nutshell. You do what you have always done. You go through the motions. But no life. No breath. Just dry, hot, nothing.
That is why this time together as we talk about survival and wilderness is absolutely crucial. We must learn how to survive and not only survive, but come out the other side stronger.
You already know that the wilderness is dry, barren, uncharted, unpredictable, uncomfortable, uncontrollable, but it can also be beautiful, fruitful, ordered, and ordained. The wilderness can be profitable if embraced. Destructive if escaped from too early.
We must understand something before we start this study. The wilderness experience is not only completely normal, but also completely and absolutely necessary, and it should absolutely be expected. The Children of Israel act surprised that they wind up in the desert after they escape from Egypt. However, the reality is they just had a hearing problem. They should have known from the beginning they would end up in the desert. Because in Exodus 7:16 Moses, speaking for God, says very clearly to Pharaoh, “Let my people go so that they may serve me in the wilderness.
There are 3 great wilderness stories in the Bible. These 3 wilderness stories will serve as the backdrop to our journey over the next few weeks. These stories teach us some powerful survival lessons. However, before we can get to those lessons we must first ask ourselves why do we end up in the desert and in the dry times? Before we learn the lessons that we must learn while we are there we must first understand why we are there. These 3 wilderness stories reveal the answer to that question.
a. Moses – His wilderness story teaches us that we can end up in dry times because of our own mistakes/choices. He killed an Egyptian and has to flee and he ends up on the back side of the desert watching his father-in-laws herds.
b. David – His wilderness story teach us that we end up trying to survive the dry times because of someone else’s mistake. David is minding his own business when all of a sudden a mad man king tries to kill him and so he has to run to the wilderness. I know none of you have ever been done wrong or have ever been hurt. But I just want to tell you that sometimes you can end up in a dry place spiritually because of someone else.
c. Jesus – This is my least favorite wilderness story because when you read Matthew 4:1 you discover that Jesus finds himself in a dry place because the Spirit sent him there. In other words, God on purpose, intentionally sent him into a dry time. So you may be dry this morning because God intentionally sent you into a dry season so that you can learn something.