God’s servants often need a place of solace and rest. Rest for the eyes from viewing the desolation and corruption of the sacred treasures and rest for the mind from the anxieties of ordinary life was going to inevitably be a . Examples of this appear in the life of Yeshua with his need for undistracted prayer time, but it is Yohan the Baptist who seems, more than any, to have chosen to live in a desert, and it was not in pursuit of the nomad heritage in Israelite culture. David’s longings in one of his maskils – Psalm 55 – seems to have found a place in New Testament times with the Baptist’s flight from society.
(6) I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. (7) “Behold, I would wander far away, I would lodge (Hebrew lun) in the wilderness. (8) “I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest.”Psalms 55:6-8
If one is tempted to think that Yohan had a sheltered life in Elizabeth and Zechariah’s home then the facts about Aaronic families should help. There is no question that Zechariah was vigorously training his son to become a priest. It is what they do. At some point Yohan had to say “Enough of this priesthood prep!” He fled not only his parents’ home, he put distance betwen himself and society. There was no chance of him becoming a priest.
Yeshua and the desert
Although LUN (לון) is used for overnight stays God’s messenger made the desert his home.
The holy city was not in Yohan’s days a place of refuge for God’s servants and certainly not for Messiah’s messenger. Let’s make sure we know our desert place and its potential to provide for rest and refuge apart from family and culture.