God’s Voice in the Wilderness | Acts 7:38 | COVID-19
Ac 7:38 “Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God’s people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us.”
Autophobia, or isolophobia = the phobia of isolation; a dread of being alone or isolated. Isolation is something that goes against many of our own instincts.
We were created to have fellowship. Fellowship with God and others. There are some who are at peace being alone, not bothered, with no one to talk to. But others are “Social Butterflies” people who are socially dynamic, networking, charismatic, who love to be around others.
Covid-19 has brought isolation like we have not seen in our lifetimes. —We have been encouraged to abstain from gatherings greater than 10 people. —We are encouraged not to leave the house for non-essentials. —Many even work has been canceled. —Churches have moved their services online to prevent the spread of this sickness, and rightly so we abide according to God’s word (Romans 13).
In a matter of days, we have been uprooted from the comfort of the common to the unexpected. From normal life to abnormal life. From a life flourishing with fellowship and abundance of friendship to a wilderness of loneliness and isolation in our own homes. Yet often we forget it is in the wilderness where we can see God revealed like never before.
Moses received God’s living words in the wilderness (desert), for himself and God’s people.
We need to be reminded because many have left their peace, many have let fear steal their Joy. Only Jesus can restore it in our lives.
1 Jn 4:18 “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
God’s life-giving word, of faith hope and love, awaits us in the midst of this wilderness, this dessert of isolation.
[In the Wilderness of Isolation]
The people of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years. Wilderness = a largely uninhabited region, normally with sparse vegetation —‘desert, -the idea of a lonely place.’ Another word used in the N.T. To describe this Greek root word is Desolate, an isolated place.
When we think of an isolated place, the last place we relate it to is our own homes. Yet that is where we are. We are so accustomed to the rhythm of life we have given ourselves. Work, School, go to the movies, eat out, go to parties, and BBQs.
But now in this season of social isolation, we can feel as if we are in a desert, lonely, isolated from others, captives in our own homes.
[The Struggle to Understand]
In the O.T. the most common complaint, the question about the wilderness was: Has God brought us out here to die? (Ex 14.11) With God’s answer always being:
Ex 14:13–14, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. … The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
The most incredible miracles took place in the desert, as they in total dependency on God were able to see God do the impossible time and time again.
[Are they Worst Sinners?]
In a similar way, we can look at what is happening around the world, the number of infected the death toll and say, “Lord, what are you doing, why are you allowing this?”
Many preachers are turning to God’s word and begin to point fingers… “You are sick and dying because God is punishing you for your wickedness. You are getting what you deserve.”
We must not forget that we live in a fallen world. —When Sin entered the world, so did disease and death. —When preachers point the finger and say: “God is punishing you” This can be confusing for the disciple of Jesus, who is walking in His word but yet is sick.
It creates doubt, shame, and fear, leaving them to wonder: Lord what secret sin is in me that I need to repent from?
God is not punishing you nor the world, we are experiencing the results of Adam’s fall. —Nevertheless, it is a good time to examine our relationship with God and be ready for when He calls us home.
Lk 13:4–5, “And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? ”No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
Yet in this wilderness, God wants to reveal Himself to you!… But we must answer His call!
[At The Mountain of God]
“The angel spoke to him (Moses) at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us.”
Ex 24:12 “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain…“
There are two kinds of choices we can make. #1) See what is happening around them and bury our heads in the sand in fear and want to wait it out.
#2) Chose to say, the Lord has brought me to this wilderness, I am going to climb the mountain of God and hear his voice.
[Jesus brought His disciples aside]
Any place Jesus is, it is never a bad place to be. Mk 6:31, “Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place (same word as wilderness and desert) and rest awhile.”
God doesn’t make mistakes and if we are here, it is because the Lord has brought us to this isolated place to have fellowship and with our families. When was the last time you spent time with the family?
In the midst of all of this commotion, don’t miss his invitation. He wants to reveal himself to you and give you the rest you need. This is an opportunity, not a curse. But why would He allow it?
[Jesus has His Best In His Heart For Us]
Lk 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”Prayer means, to speak to God. —Jesus often came back refreshed, with new strength and direction after going to the wilderness to pray. This is the Key!
How do we climb the mountain of God, how do we find the entrance to this exhilarating Spiritual trail? the answer is prayer. We access the mount of God through prayer, where we hear his Life-giving Word.
[Recieve Life-giving Word]
At the mountain of God, Moses received Life-Giving words, for Him and for all.
My friend, It is at the mountain of God, not Sinai, where he received all the dos and don’ts.
Rather Golgatha, the mountain of God, where we received Jesus’ life-giving words, for you and for me, for all. “It is finished” Paid in full. —Not, dos nor don’ts, but It is done!
Sin was paid in full once and for all, my present, my future is secured in Christ Jesus. —The word that gives us faith (trust) in the present, hope for tomorrow, and everlasting life through His love.
[Words of Faith, Hope, and Love]
This is the word that gives us faith (trust) in the present not in the world, not trusts in ourselves. But complete dependant trust, in Him and His ability to save.
Faith/trust not in the healing, but in the healer. Faith/trust not in the provision, but in the provider of all things. Faith/trust not in peace I can muster, but in Him who is the giver of peace!
In this world full of bad news, disease, and death, The Lord says to you and me, “come up here and receive Life-giving Words.” Let him pour in You hope and His love. —His Word restores our faith, Hope and Love.
Da 10:19 “Don’t be afraid, for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”
While we are in a desert of isolation, God’s life-giving words await us, go up to the mount of God. and don’t fail to receive God’s Grace (Hebrews 9:12)
In this time of social isolation, don’t bury your head in the sand in fear as you wait for it to pass. Rather be courageous and climb the mount of God.
Let God fill you with His life-giving words of faith, hope, and love. —Find rest in His perfect love.
By Pastor Abraham Moreno