[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Come Into My Presence[/x_custom_headline]
The Gospel lesson appointed for the first Sunday in Lent (Matthew 4:1-11) sets the tone for our Lenten journey together. Just as Jesus needed time in the wilderness, so too did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah, David, Jonah, the people of Israel, Paul, and John the Baptist.  Perhaps the most infamous was the need that  Moses had for 40 years in the desert: a time of rest, repentance, equipping, wandering, learning to listen and to follow God, and the rescue of his people.  This time in the wilderness was critical to the mission.  God’s principle shows us: “Before we go out, we must come in.” So we see how the Lord brought Moses into the secret place of communion with himself prior to sending him out to Israel and Pharaoh.  The Lord has a training school.  He says, ‘Come into my presence.’ Satan will, of course always seek to reverse the procedure, reminding us all the time of the needs of the world and of the desperate necessity to get on with the work…But the Lord says, ‘No, come and stand with me for a bit.  Come and listen to me.’ Service begins in the presence of the Lord, spending time alone with God.”  And now we approach a new exodus.  The fulfillment and ultimate rescue of the people of God.
[x_blockquote cite=”Isaiah 30:15″ type=”right”]This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.'[/x_blockquote]

[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″]Jesus wanders in the wilderness[/x_custom_headline]
His response to Satan’s temptation was to explain that “man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  As Jesus was sustained by God’s word, so too are we.  As we study the Gospels, we find that Jesus quotes the Psalms more than any other book in the Old Testament.  After all it was his “hymnal” and “prayer book.”  We’re told to keep these words on our hearts and minds – like getting a song stuck in our head.  What if we used these psalms enough to get them stuck in our minds?  What if they became our songs?  Our prayers?  

Psalm 1:1-2 says: ‘Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night.’ It’s a beautiful picture of the Christian walk, of discipleship. But what you have to understand is what the psalmist was talking about. You see the word that we translate to ‘meditate’ in English is the word ‘Hagah’ in Hebrew. And it has a much deeper meaning than our modern day word ‘to meditate.’ You see the word ‘hagah’ is an onomatopoetical word in Hebrew. It’s one of those words that represents the sound that is being made. In Isaiah 31:4, it’s translated as ‘growling’ like a lion ‘growls’ right before it catches its prey. Or in Psalm 38:14, it is the same word that is used: ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ You see, our stomachs should be hungry and growling for the Word. 
 As we wander in the wilderness together as a community, our focus each week in worship during this Lenten season will center around the appointed Psalm for the day. Prayers of confession, salvation, praise, relief, and hope. Learning again and again and again to be hungry for the Word of God

[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″]The Cross[/x_custom_headline]Because Jesus accomplished the work of our salvation on the cross, our prayer is that corporately – and individually – we may find our ultimate rest in Him, as we work out the wilderness together. And that during this time of Lenten fasting and renewal, we may truly find refuge in God’s Word, sustaining us in the desert as we are sent out.

[share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true” reddit=”true” email=”true”]
[prompt type=”left” title=”Do You Like This Post?” message=”Get access to more content like this!” button_text=”Subscribe Now” href=”//www.stjohnsgc.org/members/add-existing-member”]

Read More

[column type=”1/2″][recent_posts count=”1″ orientation=”vertical”][/column][column type=”1/4″][recent_posts count=”2″ orientation=”vertical” offset=”1″][/column][column type=”1/4″ last=”true”][recent_posts count=”2″ orientation=”vertical” offset=”3″][/column][clear]
[x_author title=”About the Author”]

Pastor Scott Ness

Pastor Scott Ness loves stories and finding ways to use ordinary, everyday life to point to our amazing God. He strives to see with eyes of faith. He fails consistently. Through it all, God remains faithful and full of grace. When Pastor Scott isn't running around the church he is often found at home with his wife, Deanna and their six children.