Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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He was in the desert until...

He was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel. (Luke 1:80)

Think for a minute what living in the desert would mean. If that’s where you had spent most of your early years, as John the Baptist apparently did, you would become a rather tough character. And that’s exactly the picture we have of John: a man who ate locusts and wild honey and who wore coarse clothing (Matthew 3:4). At the same time, John’s message seemed to be in keeping with his appearance: Repent! The time of judgment is at hand!

The desert must have shaped John in another way. Seeing its vast expanse of wilderness, gazing at the night sky, and being immersed in a place of silence and solitude must have brought him closer to God. Here was the ideal landscape for someone called to hear the word of God and then proclaim it to the people God would lead to him. So when John did start preaching, he wasn’t just conveying empty words. They meant something because he had lived them!

We also need to go into the “desert” to seek God. In fact, we should go there every day! Most of us make time for prayer daily, and that is extremely important. But however we choose to pray, we should include some time where we sit in silence and listen. God loves to hear from us, but we need to hear from him too. And for that we need to be free from distractions. We need to learn how to let God speak into the deepest recesses of our hearts.

Waiting for God to speak may feel like a real desert experience for some of us. It can feel as if we’re wasting our time if we’re not actively doing something in prayer. But prayer is not about what we do as much as it’s about what God does. He knows your needs. He knows your heart. He wants to speak his word to you. So choose silence. Choose the desert. Listen. Wait. And you will be refreshed!

“Lord, I come to you in the quiet. I want to get closer to you. Help me to lay aside everything so that I can hear you, for your words are spirit and life!”

Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15; Acts 13:22-26

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