The desert is a desolate place.
It’s either miserably hot or bitterly cold–there is rarely a mild day.
To top it off, there is a minimal vegetation as far as the eye can see. Any visible plants include shrubs, succulents, palms or spindly Joshua Trees (in certain parts of the world).
And water? Well… you’d better start digging (or start walking). And you should probably hope there isn’t a sudden monsoon when you’re in the low-lying regions (especially in Arizona).
When I spent a seven-year stint in the desert, I observed that we had approximately one week of fall and one week of spring–the two most pleasant weeks of the year. The remainder of the year was either winter or summer (mostly summer). And although I loathed the harsh terrain, I grew to appreciate its rugged beauty. The sunsets over the Sierra Nevadas were breathtaking, and the wildflowers that would spring up for that brief week of Spring added a vibrant color to the rocky terrain.
In many ways, living in the desert is an apt parallel for the life we lead on this earth. Some attempt to make this world a permanent residence, heaping up wealth and prestige while neglecting truth and love. You and I must always have the mindset of the traveler. As the old hymn says, “this world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through…” Both the Apostle Peter and the Hebrew writer refer to Christians as sojourners/pilgrims/strangers.
Like living in the literal desert, this world is a vast landscape of sorrow. Death, destruction, and decay abound. The pleasant seasons come, but they are brief–often tinged with peripheral problems. Occasionally, you come to places that look pleasurable, but they are full of thieves and deadly traps.
And yet, God has provided for us in this wilderness. He shows us beauty in unexpected moments and ensures that we have our basic needs. He’s even provided purpose, direction, and lasting love.
In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, God lead the Israelites through the Wilderness to the Promised Land. Tragically, when they finally reached that land, they feared that land more than the wilderness they were in! In Deuteronomy, Moses recounts the years in the Wilderness including the forty additional years they had to wander because of their faithlessness. The eighth chapter lists several lessons they learned in all that time of wandering. Because we are also “strangers and sojourners,” there are lessons we can draw from that passage.
For the month of October, we will be writing through Deuteronomy 8 and related passages. In this plan, I have outlined the main lessons I noticed in my study and I hope it is beneficial to you as you write each day.
This month’s plan was inspired by an excellent sermon given by Erik Borlaug–a gospel preacher in Kentucky–while he was visiting a congregation in San Diego. The title and concept are used with permission.
Special thanks to Liz Smith and Sara McBroom who read through my plans each month and provide the children’s scripture writing pages for youngest participants!
To download a black and white PDF copy of the plan, click the link below:
To download the tracing and copying sheets, click the links below:
I frequently post each daily scripture on Instagram (@elihuscorner) and Facebook. Be sure to stop by and check it out!
Thank you for studying these scriptures with me each month! I love your comments and insights on social media (and here too!). You encourage me with your love for the Lord and His word.