Saturday, April 18, 2020

In the Badlands - Martin Wiles

There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:19 MSG

Their name defines them.

I first heard the name on old western movies. The badlands are located in southwestern South Dakota. Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres along with sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires. These are blended with a mixed-grass prairie.

The Lakota people first called this place, "mako sica," which means, "land bad." And for good reasons. Found here are extreme temperatures, a sparsity of water, and rugged terrain. In the early 1900s, the French-Canadian fur trappers called it "les mauvais terres pour traverse," or "bad lands to travel through."

Israel had a habit of wandering in the badlands—places they should have avoided. Sometimes, God put them there because of their disobedience—such as when He put them in Babylon seventy years. Now, they had learned their lesson, and God planned to remove them from the badlands and return them to the Promised Land.

Jesus once faced badlands Himself—the wilderness. For forty days, Satan tempted Him in that bad land, but Jesus knew how to get out. 

I’ve spent more time than I care to remember in badlands. Sometimes, the journey was short; sometimes it seemed as if it would never end. Sometimes, I put myself there; sometimes, others put me there. Not untypical in the badlands are financial struggles, emotional burnout, depression, and disappointment.

God made a way for Israel, and Jesus—while in the wilderness—gives a good pattern of how to make it out of the badlands.

When in the badlands, turn to God’s Word. Jesus used it with each of Satan’s attacks, and every time the enemy fled and the Spirit comforted Jesus.
Remembering our position gives energy when in the badlands. As God’s child, nothing can touch us that God doesn’t first filter through His loving hands.

We can also claim our authority when in the badlands. We belong to God, and, with His power, have the power to defeat our arch-enemy who would like nothing better than to put and to keep us in the badlands.

Because we belong to God, we can anticipate victory when we find ourselves in the badlands. God will not leave us there—regardless of the circumstances or people who put us there. A road out exists, and God will lead us down it to freedom.

When in the badlands, look to God. He’ll sustain you while you’re there and deliver you in His good time.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for leading us out of the badlands. But while we’re there, we look to You for important lessons.

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