Reflection—v. 12, ‘…into the wilderness…’
Wilderness is ‘wild’ space. Untamed and dangerous, it is outside any domesticating control. It is a place is for ‘outsiders,’ those who survive just out of reach of the powers-that-be and the rule of law. Bandits, thieves, and outlaws hide there. Wild animals roam there–and apparently the random wild prophet. And, if we take our text at its word, it is the domain of devils and angels, too. Its sands carry memories of a people on-the-run, led by an outlaw, escaping the long arm of Pharaoh. The same wilderness still shimmers with shadows of Jesus and his own lonely pilgrimage and testing there. Why does God choose a place like this to act? Maybe God is more free to act for us when we are outside the bounds of our safe, secure lives. The streets where many of us live are a modern wilderness–the over-grown back alleys, the dank shadows beneath bridges, the dirty concrete, and the ‘catch-out corners’ where very little is ever caught. God still prefers to work in these places, outside the world we have made for ourselves. Here God can remake the world–if we are willing to brave the wilderness.
Prayer Spirit, drive me into the wilderness of the streets.