Summary: Sometimes the Lord needs to remove us from what we know and expect in order to prepare us for a greater work. This is where the 'backside of the desert' comes in-that strategic and sometimes obscure place where the Lord places us in order to prune us.
'The Backside of the Desert'
Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
I. Moses Story
Moses went from humble beginnings to privilege, prestige and power:
•his birth (Ex.2:2)
•his upbringing (Ex.2:3-10)
•his mistake (Ex.2:11-12)
•his flight (Ex.2:13-15)
...Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. Ex.2:15b (the well represents the refreshment that his soul would undergo)
There was so much that the Lord needed to do in Moses before he was able to undertake the task yet before him. Moses still looked like, smelled like, spoke like and behaved like an Egyptian-because he was recognized as such by Jethro's daughters...And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hands of the shepherds...Ex.2:19a
Thus there was a need for Moses to enter into a time of renewal and solitiude where God could deal with him one on one. What Moses needed to learn could not be taught in the palaces of Egypt-he needed 'the backside of the desert'. It would take 40 years to get Egypt out of Moses.
II. Backside life
...and he led the flock to the backside of the desert...Ex.3:1
What is the backside of the desert?
IT IS THE PLACE WHERE GOD STRATEGICALLY PLACES US IN ORDER TO PREPARE US FOR HIS WORK. It is a place of:
•refreshment (typified by the well he sat down by)
•preparation (make ready for a task)
•pruning (trim by cutting away dead or unwanted parts)
•solitude/obscurity (aloneness not loneliness)
•development (build up;enlarge;make usable or profitable)
•lowliness (Moses went from royalty to shepherding)
•instruction (lessons will be taught and learned)
•transition (the passage from one state or stage to another)
Ill. Backside living will teach me:
•patience (wait on God for needs)
•reliance (all reliance on self taken away-He is the source of all)
•trust (all faith is to be in Him)
•humility (soaring means to start on the ground)
IV. The Darkside on the Backside
We must be careful not to meddle with, frustrate or challenge the will and workings of the Lord during this time-because there is a 'dark side' to the backside. The devil will be busy there. He will attempt to bring:
V. The Mountain on the Backside (The High Side on the Dark Side of Backside)
...and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. Ex.3:1b
With all that is taking place on the backside, there is still more; because on the backside there is a mountain (thank God for the mountain!)-the mountain of God. It's there that I will find:
•revelation from God
•assurance from God (His promises)
•my purpose in God
•the power of God
•peace of God (that results from doing and being what He wants me to be)
God caused this place of 'waste' and 'desolation' (the meaning of Horeb), to be a place of holiness.
Our role in this entire process, however long it may take is simple, but it will not be easy. Submissiveness and obedience are what is necessary. The problem is that we think we know what's best; we constantly want our own way. Through it all, God will be there.