In his book Exodus and Revolution, Michael Walzer shares three lessons we can all learn from the Exodus event of the Old Testament:
"What the Exodus … taught: first, that wherever you live, it is probably Egypt. Second, that there is a better place, a world more attractive, a promised land. And third, that the way to the land is through the wilderness." (Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution (Basic Books, 1986), p. 149)
Forty years must have seemed like eternity for God's people as they meandered through the wilderness after leaving behind the old land of Egypt. Never had the Israelites bargained for such a long and testy pathway to the Promised Land. And yet, the cold nights and searing days of the desert climate, the shortage of food and the threat of unfriendly neighbours, over forty years, would give them spiritual muscle to press on to a better place. The Land of milk and honey would not come without first being made strong through tears and sweat.
The exodus event of God's Old Testament people gives a kind of picture of what the Season of Lent ought to be for followers of Jesus today. It is a time of making people of Jesus Christ hungrier for a better place. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we enter forty days engaged in the testy disciplines that make us ready for something better. Christian author, Marlene Kropf writes, "In the daily round of life, dust and cobwebs accumulate in our souls. The hidden corners of our hearts become encrusted with grime or filled with forgotten debris. During the weeks of Lent, God's Spirit is given opportunity to clear away the clutter, sweep away the dust and wash us clean.
During these forty days in the wilderness with Jesus, would you join me in a Lenten "Spring cleaning" of our souls as we approach the Cross of Christ and the Empty Tomb? Would you join me in being a part of a small LIFE Bible study Group? Would you join me in more private prayer time and personal Bible Study? Would you join me in designating a special day of fasting, Wednesdays or Fridays, making us more hungry for Jesus and the things of God? Would you join me in inviting a friend to our Worship Services? And would you join me in being more bold in talking about Jesus to those whom God places in our path?
As we move forward with the longing of our hearts to see Jesus on His glorious future Day, may we, Lenten people, train for Resurrection by engaging the spiritual disciplines of the soul.
May the Lord draw near to you and yours this Lent and Easter and may He fill us all with a fresh breath of His Spirit.
In His strength and for His glory,