Often people state one’s need to enter the desert before God uses them. Others put it as God needing to break someone before using them. After reading through Proverbs 1-5, I wonder if we have it backwards. What if the desert is God’s provision?
Wisdom as an active pursuit
Proverbs chapter 1 details how we should actively pursue wisdom. It states how the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs also contrasts the destructive end of foolishness and the emptiness of naïvety. The last statement brings out the biggest issue: “But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.” Thus begins the perseverance resulting in provision pattern.
Perseverance results in provision
The formula of Proverbs states if you actively pursue wisdom, it will give you life. For example:
Proverbs 3:1- “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.”
Proverbs 3:2- “For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
Wisdom takes perseverance to posses. It is more an act than a possession. Wisdom does not come by chance. Wisdom is not absorbed. One must pursue it and live it. Keep wisdom through the challenges of life, and it become yours. It takes listening, pondering, treasuring, and keeping wisdom to get it. Wisdom is forged and realized through hardship.
Both wisdom and knowledge start with the fear of the Lord. It is here that we come to the desert. In reading through the persevering for wisdom followed by provision, it makes sense that God would use the desert. Desert moments bring clarity of thought, aptness to listen, and they confront our finite mortality.
While the desert is a life and death struggle, it is also fertile ground for transformational growth. Given the statements at the start of Proverbs, my perspective on the desert changed. The purpose of the desert is not God breaking us. The purpose of the desert is God providing for us. At the end of the desert is provision. The most essential provision God gives us through the desert is knowledge of Himself.
The bottom line:
For wisdom, perseverance leads to provision. It is by going through the desert that we obtain life. To avoid this seeming paradox we can be easily taken by naïvety or foolishness. Persevering through the desert provides us the start of life and theology. God is God, and we are not.