Summary: God provides for His people what we need when we need it.
• Do you ever need a little shade in this life?
John 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.
Gen 21:15-18 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, "Let me not look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation."
1. Have you ever had to make the most of a difficult situation?
2. The desert is a picture of difficulty and opportunity.
3. The bush described here is believed by some scholars to be the desert broom Tree which provides a spot of shade and a break from the sun.
4. This tree would prove to be important on the desert journey.
• Let’s first look at “Relief of Shade
A. When the Heat is On We Seek Shade
Ill. 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 Aspercream. 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. As a matter of fact, Time Magazine reported in 2004 hat Americans spent about $2.6 billion in over-the-counter pain medications and another nearly $14 billion on outpatient analgesics in 2004, the most recent data available. Everyone wants to live a comfortable life.
1. Life’s difficulties sap us like heat in the summer.
2. Examples: Disease or chronic pain; Death of loved ones; Job-loss; Divorce; Rebellious child . . .
3. Some difficulties come by our own doing - Adam and Eve
4. Some by the hands of others - Sarah and Abraham with Hagar; 10 and 2 Spies
• God is Our relief from the Heat
1. He is our shade
Psalm 121:5-6 - The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
Isaiah 25:4 - 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,
2. He is our shade for the NOW.
a. We still have to walk in the desert.
b. But more relief is promised - more Broom Trees along the way.
c. Jonah received and lost shade from God (Jonah 4).
C. There are times when we become shade for others.
• As Abraham, we are blessed to be a blessing
• A description of Israel. Shade was God’s plan for a nation.
Psalm 80:8-10 - You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.