Theme: The Wilderness
Things happen in the wilderness we would rather forget. The wilderness is not home, it's the wild. And in the wild Satan is present. So what are you saying? Yellowstone National Park is the abode of Satan? Yep. Okay, maybe not, I really don't know, but Mark tells us Satan was in the wilderness when Jesus was sent there by the Spirit. What I can say with confidence is Satan was in the wilderness yesterday.
I went to the wilderness last night, Sunday evening, to ride my dirt bike. I unloaded, got my gear on, fired up the bike, and rode for about an hour. When I got back, I had been robbed. Satan had tempted someone and they fell, unlike Jesus who was sinless, perfect in the battle with Satan. They took my shorts, tennis shoes, and Tommy Lee Design helmet bag. Okay, whatever, not happy about it, but that's wilderness living. Anything can happen. While driving home, I noticed something else was missing from my Jeep. The shovel and axe had been stolen that graced my hood, crowning by Jeep like the bow on a Christmas present. Now I was a bit ticked.
Seriously, I thought? You can't even go into the wilderness without getting violated. The answer, according to first-hand experience - NO. Then I thought about the message I preached about forgiveness a few weeks ago. Jesus taught that when we are wronged a debt is created. Forgiveness means we cancel the debt. The debt was easy to calculate in terms of possessions. But there is also that violated feeling of being robbed. I will likely not park in that place to ride, and if I do, that memory will be there. I will have a fear of being robbed again. How can you enjoy riding when you are wondering what is happening back at your car? That debt is not so easy to calculate.
But the gospel is all about forgiveness. It is all about the Son of God cancelling our debt. Not by just saying it's cancelled, but by entering a skin sack, being tempted in every way, remaining sinless, and then giving His life as a payment for our sin. Thank you Jesus. In light of this, maybe I can go back to that wilderness and not dwell on the loss, but dwell on the grace of God. Will I park somewhere different? Yes. Will I make sure things are secured the best I can? Yes. But I cannot let evil win. While Satan may be in the wilderness, so is Jesus Christ. So, by the grace of God, we also can have victory in the wilderness.
Scripture: Mark 1:12-13
At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Prayer: The Wilderness
“Jesus, the wilderness is a place You and Satan met. I cannot imagine the conversations you had. We have a small portion of them in the Bible, but I am sure there was more. Your companions were the Spirit, wild animals, and then angels. And you overcame Satan in that wilderness for forty days as he tempted you. I am so grateful you know what we face in terms of evil on this earth. We pray the Spirit would help us overcome evil with good. May the wilderness be a place of grace and may the darkness be driven out by Your light. In Jesus' Name, Amen."