Dinner in the Desert
My thought today is built around a question. I’m not the first to ask it. I won’t be the last. “Can God prepare a banquet in the desert?” (Psalms 78:19, God’s Word Translation). And don’t tell me you have never asked it. “Can God provide in my poverty?” “Does God care in my calamity?” “Can God turn my hopelessness into hope?” “Can life and laughter spring forth from my dreadful, dilemma?” “Can God turn my pity into a party?” Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes! I can hear a resounding, deafening “Yes!” Where is the proof?
Given the pick the last place one would likely want to live is a desert. It is usually a dull, depressing, dismal, dark, dry, deadly, dusty, dirty, desolate, despondent, drifting, place; deficient of moisture, plant and animal life. Add to that it is flat, featureless, and full of fear. It doesn’t stop there. The desert is mostly hot; hostile, and horrific. Sandstorms and sadistic storms decrease visibility and increase hopelessness. Its sad status boasts of supporting very little life, is lifeless, and lonely limited to wandering, homeless nomads. It is an empty, eerie environment.
The largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara, in Northern Africa, covering over nine million kilometers and twelve countries. What a waste! One third of the earth’s mass is desert.
There is hope, however, in the desert. Animals, plants, and people do learn to survive. The desert contains great amounts of valuable, usable, mineral resources spread over their entire surface.
At times, we find, falter, or fall into a spiritual desert experience. It is an opportunity for us to grow stronger gleaning from the spiritual resources prepared for us. It is here in the midst of all the negatives that God turns the table. Words shift to able, available, abundant, overflowing, rushing, supply. Not only does He turn the table, He prepares it.
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love”
(Song of Solomon 2:4, ESV). I’ve heard that little song for years and have never really understood what is meant. Now, I have a better understanding.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the Lord’s house for days without end” (Psalms 23; God’s Word Translation).
“Parable of the Great Feast: Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, ‘What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!’ Jesus replied with this story: ‘A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready’” (Luke 14:15-17, NLT).
Dinner is ready.