Tim Keller | June 17, 2007
We’re looking at the book of Deuteronomy, which we have said is a series of sermons preached by Moses just before he died. The subject is: “Having experienced the salvation and grace of God, how should we then live? How should that concretely affect and shape the way we live?” It’s a very practical book, and no passage is more practical than today’s, because here we have some insights about how you handle suffering and pain and grief and difficulty. There’s nothing more practical than that.
We learn three things from the text. First, we can’t survive in the wilderness. Secondly, we can’t survive without the wilderness. Thirdly, therefore, we only have one hope. Let’s take a look.
Deuteronomy, one of Moses’ books, shows us how to live knowing that God loves us and has saved us. It tells us that tough times are important. We have to go through life’s difficulties, relying on God to guide us. This gives us a way to deal with pain and shape our lives with God’s help.
1. Life is like a desert wilderness
The Bible compares life to a desert wilderness. It’s a place that can’t satisfy our deepest longings without God’s help. The things we often count on, like jobs and friendships, aren’t enough. Pain and suffering are parts of life. The key is to build a church community that can experience happiness and sadness together, and stay strong through life’s difficulties.
2. We need the wilderness to grow
God often meets us during our hardest times, just like He did with people in the Bible like Jacob, Moses, Hagar, and Elijah. These tough times are like a wilderness that can help us grow and show us what we need to give to God. Even when life is hard, we can find joy in God and let Him use our pain to help us flourish in surprising ways.
3. Our only hope is in God
We often see God’s lessons as a wilderness, a place where we learn to see Him as a loving Father who tests us to help us get stronger, not to get rid of our weaknesses. The difficulties we face, like Jesus faced in the wilderness, are not punishments but chances to grow. They remind us of God’s constant love and help. By trusting in God’s love and diving into His Word, we can find strength in tough times, learn from our experiences, and avoid becoming bitter or cynical.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer