They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
At church, we had a message which referred to one of the verses in this Psalm 107. To understand the context of that verse, I started reading the whole psalm and these verses touched me…especially the words…’city of habitation’…or ‘inhabited city’.
This is a Psalm which talks about the journey of the Israelites from bondage to the promised land. Wilderness is a special part of that exodus and we know that God had definite plans about their wilderness. I would like to mention a few differences of life in the desert and a city of habitation, so that we can understand the importance and worth of a city of habitation.
In the wilderness, a person is more like a wanderer…not certain about his next step..not sure about what lies ahead. But a city to dwell is a place one settles. Desert experiences often makes one hungry and thirsty…they always worry about the provision for that day…because the land that they are currently in cannot provide the food in anyway. But in an inhabited city…you have provision for your daily needs. While the wilderness experience makes a person always insecure and fearful…a city of habitation provides a comfortable and secure refuge to live in. When you settle in a city, you have peace and joy in living…but in the wilderness…you are always on the move…and there is no time to enjoy life. While there is always unfavorable changes in a desert life, a place to settle provides calmness and contentment.
If you look at the lives of the Israelites in the wilderness, you will see that they experienced hunger, thirst, uncertainties about the future, worries of life and also the pain of solitude. But they experienced a wonderful thing which they never experienced in Egypt and also in the promised land….that is the direction of God..All through that wilderness, God led them day and night…He went in front of them and delivered them from all obstacles…Since God moved with them..they saw His mighty hand working miracles on their behalf. We read in the above key verse that God led them through the straight way so that they can finally reach that promised land and enjoy everything that the city of habitation can offer.
In our wilderness experience, we may go through hunger, thirst, solitude, uncertainties and insecurities. But only there, you see God’s pillar moving ahead of you in the day and the pillar of fire in the night. Only in that wilderness of yours will you experience the manna from heaven..In that desert of yours, you will experience God’s hand parting the Red Sea..There in that scorching heat alone will you experience the whisper of God as a soothing breeze. In that desert…you are not on your own…there is someone ahead of you guiding you to a city of habitation…
The future place where we are going to dwell in is a place of abundance…a place of refuge, a place of peace, a place of provision..a place of security. But the journey to that city of habitation is through this wilderness and HE alone knows the way. When we think about the pain of bondage from which we are saved and also the glory of the promised land in which we are going to dwell forever…the wilderness is worth walking, as each step we take is making us move away from the bondage of Egypt..and at the same time making us one step closer to the promised land…the city of habitation.