Greetings again my Brethren.  Okay let us finish up this section of our study on the Oracles of God.  Much has been discussed since we have started and much still lay ahead for us.  This month we will look at the last place where  divine communication COULD happen if we have the wherewithal to be able to hear God speak. You know, many Christians say God is always speaking, well I am not so sure of that my friend.  Did you know there was a period in the Bible where God did not speak for over 400 years? The 400 years of silence refers to the time between the Old Testament and New Testament, during which, so far as we know, God did not speak thus no Scripture was written. The 400 years of silence began with the warning that closed the Old Testament: “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6) and ended with the coming of John the Baptist, the Messiah’s forerunner. My friend God is not a chatter box He speaks when he has something important to say. So, as I said last month this place which is my most favorite place is the wilderness.  The wilderness is part of God’s physical creation; it is also part of His divine arrangement as applied to Christian experiences. Any critic can relegate these times of dryness, distress, and difficulties in Christian experience to Satan or to disobedience. Human logic can easily arrange Scripture to suit itself.  However, Paul applies them as the wilderness experiences of Israel to the Christian experience. The entire setting of “these things” which “happened to them” in 1 Corinthians 10:11 is in the wilderness. In verses 12 and 13, two significant verses relate the success of Christian living to understanding, learning, and applying the lessons of the wilderness. In the first of these two verses, Paul gives warning to one who is already standing, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (v.12) He would of necessity have to be standing in order to fall.  The term “thinks he stands” does not refer to the one who is deceived in believing that he is standing while he really is not. He is standing. To those who are standing in a victorious Christian life, Paul gives warning to pay attention to what he is saying.  Many believers learn nothing from the experience of Israel and others in the wilderness.  Paul plainly indicates that without this learning there is the possibility, if not the certainty, of falling from victorious living. Understanding and learning from the failures of others bring us into an awareness necessary for the success we desire in our Christian life. Jesus warns us of unawareness in Luke, “Take heed to yourself, lest at any

time your heart be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unaware.” (Luke 21:34) Paul echoes this warning; “While they are saying peace and safety! Then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1Thessalonians 5:3) “Suddenly” is from the same Greek word used in Luke 21:34, translated “unaware.” The Biblical meaning is “unawareness,” as the woman is not aware of her moment of delivery until the birth pangs strike. The second significant verse immediately following Paul’s reference to Israel’s wilderness experiences is known by memory by most believers. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) In its context, this verse relates to the experiences of Israel in the wilderness as related and applied to our Christian walk today. Many believers have failed to recognize and therefore understand the lessons and purposes of the wilderness.  As a result, some of these believers, if not most of them, continually fail in victorious Christian living. It is my hope this lesson will aid in preventing failure and bring those already in failure out of it into victory. And out of this time of learning and approving we come to a place of really knowing God and His love for us. We come to a place of leaning and depending on God. In Song of Songs we read, Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.”  (Song of Songs 8:5) In these wilderness experiences the rocks of life can cut us bare to the heart then we learn to lean upon our beloved. The wilderness can even save us from drowning in despair, it can (our choice if we learn the lessons) save us from dying.  Less serious, they will spare us from many headaches and heartaches. If we have something which will hold us in difficult times, it becomes a tremendous anchor in our lives a real lifesaver. 

          More next month as we will start a new section where God is able to speak to us through a diversity of instruments.   Are you there my friend? In tough situations and circumstances?  Have you heard His voice? Listen closely and you will. Written by David Stahl