Lodging in a desert

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.

Buttonholing Capernaum

I suppose that many observers think of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany and Golgotha as the main settings for the Messianic drama. There are however two places that seem to be destiny: Nazareth and Capernaum in Galilee.

And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Matthew 4:13-16

This was done to connect Messiah with a region where (a) death stalked innocent citizens and (b) the darkness of hatred cemented the barriers of xenophohia.  Our Saviour grew up in Gentile Galilee – the prophecy calls it so, and no one can put down his fond regard for all humans in contrast to the murderous Jerusalem cliques and revengeful people in general.

There were three cities of refuge in the Galilee region. Having come as high priest, the Son of David would have had proper concern for the plight of people in protective custody or facing oppression.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 4:18

Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

Matthew 12:18

So when one assumes that nothing good can come out of Nazareth it is a denial of both the darkness and the light. The disturbing trend of denial continues over who the Saviour of the world is and the not so important “which city and which mountain”.