Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Redeemed: Wanderers in the Desert

Who are the redeemed of the Lord? The come from the most unlikely places. They are homeless wanderers in the desert, rebels in prison, fool in sickness and people in the greatest peril. They all have something in common — they are all in trouble. But that is not all. What is more important is what else they have in common — they cry out to the Lord in the midst of their trouble. And so they are redeemed!
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
  They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
  Their soul fainted in them.
(Psalm 107:4-5)
These are people who have no home, no dwelling place, no stability in their lives, no focus. They are aimless wanderers whose whole life seems to be nothing more than a vast desert, dry and dusty. They are hungry and thirsty for a place and a provision, but they have given up and are shrouded by the shadow of death.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
  And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
  That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
(Psalm 107:6-7)
Then in their desperation, they remember that there is a covenant God, a God of goodness, a God of mercy. They cry out to Him, not with eloquence or ceremony, but from the depth of great need and hunger.

God hears and delivers them — “snatches them out” is the meaning of the Hebrew word — from all their distresses. He sets them on the right path and leads them forward into the destiny He has had prepared for them all along. He directs them to a city, a place where destinies come together to be nurtured and protected and brought to fulfillment.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
  And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
  And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
(Psalm 107:8-9)
Here is the psalm’s refrain, invoking the song of the redeemed: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy is forever” (v. 1). Out of God’s great goodness He brings forth wonders—marvelous and extraordinary things, even greater than we had known to expect. He fills the hungers and desires of the human soul full to overflowing with good things.

God welcomes the wanderers. It does not matter if you ended up in your desert by pigheadedness, na├»vete, foolishness or willful pride. The name of Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) means “Yahweh delivers, saves, heals,” and the Bible says that whoever calls on His name will be saved.