Sometimes we walk through a season of life that feels like a wilderness. Barren, lonely, forsaken. We might even feel like this is the end. That things are hopeless.
That’s where Elijah was when he fled Jezebel. He went out in the wilderness, sat by a tree, and asked God to let him die. Instead, God gave him food and water and sent him to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-8). There, Elijah made his complaint. “Then he said, ‘I have been very zealous for Yahweh the God of hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant. They have demolished your altars, and they have killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left over, and they seek to take my life'” (1 Kings 19:10, LEB).
Yahweh responds by showing His power, reassuring Elijah that he was not the only believer left, and giving him a job to do (1 Kings 19:11-18). Elijah thought things were hopeless but God had other ideas. He had a plan for Elijah and an even larger plan Elijah didn’t know about.
Transforming Your Wilderness
For all of us, it’s easy to feel like we’re insignificant to God’s plan. But no one is too small for God to do marvelous things with. In fact, God often chooses the poor, weak, and little because those are the ones easiest for Him to work powerfully in (1 Cor. 1:26-31; 2 Cor. 12:9-10)
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. (Is 41:17, KJV)
God might not respond exactly when and how we want Him to, but He will respond. He doesn’t promise to take us out of our wilderness, but He does promise transformation.
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. … That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. (Is. 41:18, 20, KJV)
Water is seen as a source of life. It is also used in scripture as a metaphor for the holy spirit springing up in us like a well (John 4:13-14) and flowing out from us (John 7:37-39). When God pours life into our hearts, it changes things. We become different people and that affects how we see what’s going on around us. It can also transform our surroundings.
With God In Your Heart
I started this study after a verse in Psalm 84 caught my eye. This is a psalm that talks about longing to worship God and the blessings found in association with Him.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in you; in their heart are the highways to Zion. Passing through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring. The early rain covers it with blessings as well. (Ps. 84:5-6, LEB)
“Baca” can be translated “weeping.” Adam Clarke’s commentary calls it a “barren and desert place,” and points out that some manuscripts use the word “mourning.” This is not a nice place. That is, until someone with God in their heart walks through.
Water and Be Watered
As God blesses us, we gain the opportunity to be a blessing to others. God isn’t selfish. When He gives He gives more than enough. And the more you keep sharing your blessings with others, the more He keeps giving to you.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38, WEB)
Proverbs presents the same principle: “He who waters shall be watered also himself” (Prov. 11:25, WEB). There’s a cycle of blessings. God blesses you, which makes you able to bless others, which keeps you selflessly and humbly open to the work of God which means more blessings.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,” says Yahweh of Armies, “if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough for.” (Mal. 3:16, WEB)
Some of us are hesitant to give to God or others because we think we won’t have enough left over for ourselves. It doesn’t make sense by human logic that if you give away your money, time, effort, etc. that you’ll get more back. But that’s what God promises and He invites us to prove Him right.
Instead of turning in on ourselves when we’re in a wilderness, turn outward. Remember God’s promises to bring life into your deserts. With Him in your heart, you can pass through the valley of weeping and make it a spring of life-renewing water.