“In the desert they gave in to their craving.” – Psalm 106:14
When you heart the word “desert,” what comes to mind? I picture a sweaty, sun-burned man with tattered pants, his shirt wrapped around his head like a turban. After traveling for days, he’s overheated and extremely parched. Finally, he sees a pool of water. With a sudden burst of energy, he races to quench his thirst, only to discover that what’s before him is a mirage.
The Israelites were certainly familiar with the desert. After all, they spent 40 years wandering in one. Psalm 106 gives us insight into why God’s chosen people ended up in the wilderness instead of feasting on the abundance of the Promised Land:
They gave no thought to God’s miracles and forgot His many kindnesses. They didn’t wait for the Lord’s counsel but took matters into their own hands. They failed to believe God’s promises and disregarded His commands. They worshipped idols. Basically, the Israelites did whatever they wanted to do, and as a result, they wasted away in their sin. Yet, time and time again, the Lord rescued them, despite their rebellion (verses 7, 13, 24, 36, 43).
The Israelites were actually in the desert long before they were physically there. They had grown calloused toward the Lord, and verse 14 tells us the consequences of the harsh condition of their hearts: “In the desert they gave in to their craving.”
Desert life doesn’t just happen overnight. The climate of your heart doesn’t undergo a major change in one day. Rather, the transformation is subtle, occurring slowly over time. One or two days without reading your Bible soon becomes one or two months. A morning without prayer turns into several weeks. A Sunday morning at home becomes a habit.
Dryness equals disobedience. If we aren’t constantly drawing from the source of Living Water, we become thirsty and weak. We’re deceived and unable to see things clearly. When temptations come, we don’t flee from them but, instead, dive headfirst into sin.
The only way to keep from living an arid existence is to drink deeply of the Lord every day. Read His Word, talk to Him in prayer, and draw from the only Well that will hydrate your spirit. Be as thirsty for the Lord as the dry, cracked ground is thirsty for rain. Stay out of the desert by staying close to your Savior.