Would a good father purposely lead his children to difficult places or to enemy territory? Before you answer, notice what one of Jesus’ friends wrote, “Then Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1, NIV). Why would God lead His Beloved Son into the desert? Why not into the synagogue, or to the Temple or even to the city? And why would He lead Him into the desert to be tempted? Why not just to fast or just to focus on God or just to pray? And why lead Him into the desert to be tempted by the devil?
This verse does not sound like an encouraging one to mediate on, but as I was thinking about it, one of the things I learned was that God is wise and would never mislead His children because He wants what’s best for them. He will sometimes lead them to difficult and painful places in order to do something supernatural in them and through them. Deserts (places of lack, inadequate resources, difficulty, and suffering) are great places to accomplish this. Moses was in the desert when God spoke to him and gave him an assignment. Elijah was in the desert when God appeared to him and told him about the future of his ministry. John the Baptist started preaching in the desert, and Paul said that when God called him to be an apostle, he first went to Arabia (which is in the desert).
Exodus 13:17-18 says, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.“ Though they went out of Egypt ready for battle, God knew they needed training for spiritual battle.
Are you in a desert right now? Do you feel like nothing in your life is working? Do you feel pressured by the circumstances around you and overwhelmed by the temptations you are facing? Are you perhaps confused by what you are going through? Believe it or not, the Sovereign God has you exactly where He wants you to be. If He led His Only Begotten Son to the desert to be tempted by the devil, we cannot expect any less. But if we hold on to Him, trust Him and continue to obey Him, we will experience the truth of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” But God doesn’t do this just for us; He does it for His kingdom, so that we can be equipped to minister to others, just like Moses, Elijah, Paul and Jesus Himself.
Have a blessed day and week ahead.