“And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt.” Numbers 9:1
“In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.” Ezekiel 1:1-2
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind.” Job 38:1
“I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.” Revelation 1:1-3
Every word of Scripture is God-breathed and instructive (2 Timothy 3:16). God packs even simple words and introductions with meaning, intentionally teaching and encouraging us as we read carefully. When we find ourselves in some kind of exile– from estranged family members, friends who have dropped out of our lives, or the companionship of co-workers because we have chosen to take a stand for God; or whirlwind– of busyness, or whining, or the bombardment of the world’s enticements; or wilderness– of loneliness, unmet longings, betrayal, or the waiting room of prayer, God is nigh.
He not only visits us, but abides with us there in the dark, and speaks love and insight and messages we could not receive in any other place in the same way. Do I listen? Am I willing to cease from discontent or complaining or working my way out, to be quiet from fretting over the injustice or hurt or the prayers that aren’t answered as and when I like, to tune in to the Almighty? Sometimes He speaks in whispers (1 Kings 19:11-12). These greats of Scripture– Moses, Ezekiel, Job, John– were in hard places, but they were in the Spirit and attentive, therefore inspired, helped, taught, and used mightily through the voice of God to them there.
O You Who ride the heavens to my help, Who are present in the flood and fire, thank You for Your presence in my bereft places of body, mind, and Spirit. May I always prepare a place for You in the wilderness, and respond gratefully and willingly to all You say. (Deuteronomy 33:20; Isaiah 43:2; 40:3)