Seeking God’s presence becomes real in the wilderness.
The geography of Israel is one of extremes, and some of these extremes are only miles apart. The greatJudean wilderness variations in topography play a vital role in Israel’s varied climate, rainfall, and agriculture. They also vividly illustrate some powerful spiritual lessons. Take, for example, the region between the mountains around Jerusalem (and extending to the south) and the Dead Sea to the east. Between the mountains and the Dead Sea is an area called the Judean Wilderness. As the winds move eastward from the Mediterranean Sea, they are forced upward by the mountains which run in a north-south line through much of Israel. As the clouds rise, they drop a lot of water on cities like Jerusalem. To the east of the mountains, the elevation drops about 3500 feet in a very short distance. Within this region lies the Judean Wilderness, also called the Judean Desert, where water is scarce.

Judean wilderness 1During my first trip to Israel, I experienced this geological phenomenon. Within an hour’s drive, it seems like you have been transported to another planet. While Jerusalem may be cold and wet, the wilderness is hot and extremely dry.





Jerusalem rain

Jerusalem rain

In Psalm 63, we find David in this wilderness area, thirsting not only for water, but for God. The historical context cannot be known for certain, but based on 2 Samuel 15:23, 28; 16:2), it seems very possible that he was hiding during Absalom’s rebellion. David is desperate for water, but his need for God is even more acute. David knows that his God can provide him with both water and deliverance from his enemies. More than anything, he longs for God’s presence.

Judean wilderness 2

What a great picture of our spiritual lives. When things are going well and we’re on the mountain, we thank God for his blessings (rain). Hopefully, we recognize that all the good things in our lives are gifts from God. When the blessings dry up and we find ourselves in the wilderness, everything changes. It is there and only there that we truly recognize our need for God’s presence. Promises aren’t enough. Sound doctrine isn’t enough. We need for God to show up, lift us up, and hold us tightly. Knowing Him as a concept won’t cut it. We must experience Him for real.

Read Psalm 63 in light of your current struggles and try to identify with David as he seeks God’s presence.

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life to destroy it,
Will go into the depths of the earth.
They will be delivered over to the power of the sword;
They will be a prey for foxes.
But the king will rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him will glory,
For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.


Also, today (Sept 1) is the day for special prayers for Jerusalem as requested by Anne Graham Lotz.


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