Can God Provide a Table in the Wilderness?

Bench at Castle Quarry Overlook

Photo by Susanne Schuberth

Yea, they spoke against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? (Ps 78:19, KJ2000)

And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now late; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; you give them to eat. (Matt 14:15-16, KJ2000)

In the meanwhile his disciples besought him, saying, Teacher, eat. But he said unto them, I have food to eat that you know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, has any man brought him anything to eat? Jesus said unto them, My food is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4:31-34, KJ2000)

I met a brother while fishing a while back, and when he found out that I’m a believer in Christ, he invited me to join him on Saturday mornings for a “men’s fellowship” he goes to at a local church. He assured me that I would enjoy it and with my knowledge of the Bible would fit right in and be appreciated. He is still young in the Lord and has much to learn when it comes to following the Spirit vs. following men. After inviting me every time he sees me, I finally assured him that I would pray about his invitation and do what the Lord tells me to do and only that.

So, you might be asking what this has to do with the verses that I quoted in the beginning of this blog. This brother and I met on the bank of a lake where there is little sign of man and his doings. Compared to many fishing places, some would call this a wilderness. There are no docks to fish from, no toilet facilities, no picnic tables, no trash cans, and no benches to sit on. We were able to fellowship in the Spirit’s leading without anyone supervising or interrupting our time together. He was amazed. God had prepared a “table” in the wilderness for us. It was totally outside a church setting and he was blessed, yet unwittingly in his immaturity, he wanted to pull what we shared into a place where he was used to getting his spiritual food under the control of a church official.

How many times have you heard church-minded people say that they go to a certain church because they are getting fed there or they are looking for another church to attend because they are not getting fed? As I grew in the Lord, I found myself in that mindset and became less and less content with the food that was provided by men in their religious institutions. The Spirit started leading me to go out into the wilderness to hear the words of my Lord. Because I grew to where I could hear His voice without all the intellects of men interfering, Church people would say, “What church do you attend?” “Did you go to Bible school somewhere?” Or like the disciples they were asking of Jesus, “Has any MAN brought him something to eat?”  When the lame man at the pool was asked by Jesus if he would be made whole he replied, “I have no man…” We are all too focused on men for our provision and because of this we miss out on what God has for us.

Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” and this was HIS food. God can and does prepare for us a table in the wilderness where there are no churches, no fellowship meetings, no Bible schools and none of the things that most religious people relate to for “daily bread” for their hungry souls. This is the way that the Israelites thought in the wilderness (Psalm 78:19) – we doubt that He can speak to us and provide food for our spirits with every word that proceeds from HIS mouth through His Spirit within us. It is just as the prophet warned:

Behold, the days come, says the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. (Amos 8:11-13, KJ2000)

I am reminded of the visible church systems of today compared to His table set for us in the wilderness in the following account about John the Baptist:

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zachariah in the wilderness. (Luke 3:1-2, KJ2000)

Can you see it? Every person who was considered the world’s authorities in their centers of civilization, the people “in the know” are mentioned here, even the temple high priests in Jerusalem, but the word of God came to John in the wilderness! As we mature in Christ, we will find ourselves being drawn more and more to Him that we might live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth. Our spiritual walk will become more and more isolated from those who “live by bread alone” as He fine-tunes us to hear and obey His voice. Just as John found more than enough “ministry” to do in the wilderness, so did Jesus as the crowds so often followed Him out into the wilderness to hear His words and be healed by Him. As we mature in Christ and obey His leading, we might often find ourselves alone, but God knows how to arrange for us to speak and to do His will when the time is right. Remember, God is more interested in what He wants to put into us than what He stands to get out of us.

(A special thanks to Susanne Schuberth for letting me use her picture of that old hand carved table and benches in the Bavarian woods. Also, thanks to George Davis and the time of sharing we had together this morning when the Spirit made those opening passages from the Bible take on new meaning for me.)

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41 comments on “Can God Provide a Table in the Wilderness?

  1. Pat Orr says:

    Yes, God can prepare a table in the wilderness. Thank you for the refreshing message.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kenneth Dawson Dawson says:

    I believe you are right–Why/How do I know? Well I quit going to that little church and started going to a big church–An institutional church and I went by the prompting of our Lord–I asked Him why He wanted me to go there–He said dont become a member just go there and observe,so I have done what He told me and sure enough it is a busy place but there is lots of dis-unity in it–They do not talk about living by Gods Spirit Being but living by bibliosity and when I talk to them about living ontologicaly they look at me in a strange way–like whats that mean? I love it! this is fun!

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Ken, I have to admit that “ontologicaly” is one of those “five dollar” words that I am clueless about as well and had to look it up.

      Ontological – relating to the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
      “ontological arguments”

      I am still confused. For that matter, what is “Bibliosity” As they say in Pentecostal churches, “Does anyone have an interpretation?”

      Like

      • Kenneth Dawson Dawson says:

        Bibliocity is when they say you live the Chritian life by the code of the bible–You trust Christ to save you and then you live by the instructions of the bible/law–onto-relational is participating in the God life in you causing you to live by the promptings of Gods Spirit Being to manifest His character out of your behavior

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Thanks, Ken. That helps. I knew what bibliolatry is, but these two were new to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post, Michael! 🕊💎⭐ Love it! 💓💓💓

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Judi says:

    Like* Yes and Amen Michael!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kenneth Dawson Dawson says:

    Thats ok Mike–I normally get in trouble when I bring this subject up to other Christians because they think I am against the bible but I am not–A good place to go for more in depth study of the difference between epistemology and ontology concerning Spirit living is a website called–christinyou.net from a guy named James Fowler.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Ken, Fowler has some good insight into these matters, for sure. The problem was summed up when Jesus told those Bibliolaters of old,

      You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40, ESV2011)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. A wise post from a man who clearly has walked a long way with the Lord. It made me think of my grandmother.

    Grandma (a devout woman) was a great cook. She always managed to cook hearty and delicious meals for us from the things she had on hand.

    Not a trained chef, my grandmother had learned to feed her family in the desperate times during and after WWII. Before finally emigrating to the United States, she was the cook at a displaced persons camp, having taken on the work for the few scraps of extra food it might provide. The lesson she taught us was that God provides. Whatever our surroundings, He provides.

    God can make Himself known in nature or in the kitchen. He can use the most ordinary of things…like broken pots. The prophet Jeremiah would tell you. We do not need a crystal cathedral to pray, or an app for that matter. God can hear us just fine without the equipment.

    Your friend,

    Anna ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Anna! Yes, your grandma and God have a lot in common. Like Jesus told the disciples, “You feed them.” He new how to make a little go a long ways when thousands had followed Him out into the wilderness and He still does.

      Your brother and friend in Christ,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Mary Ann says:

    Great post! I also love the photo.. it looks like a peaceful place to pray and listen..

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Mia says:

    Dear Michael
    I have found that having a feast with Papa, Jesus and the Holy Spirit actually happens much more in the wilderness than other times. He invites us always to come to the most holy place in the temples of our bodies; there where we are one Sprit with Him. My health has taken quite a turn for the worse this last year and therefore I am housebound most of the time and bed bound very often. I have learned that the worse my pain is, the more and deeper into Papa I draw, and oh, what a joy suffering becomes at such a time when Papa, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and I have when we share His feast together. André has learned to just leave me alone when I pull my pillow over my head and crawl into Papa’s loving embrace. Hope you are doing well, dear brother.

    XXXMia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Mia, I am sorry to hear that your health has turned for the worse. But it is good to hear that you are drawing closer to Jesus and the Father through it all. Yes, my health is better and my fractured vertebrae and cracked ribs are healing slowly. They have been signals from the Lord to stop doing big building projects and focus more on Him. Tell Andrea hello for us. He is a wonderful husband and you both are in my prayers.

      Like

  9. mariatlee says:

    Thank you Michael. This exhorts me.

    Kind regards, Maria

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alan Haungs says:

    I really enjoy reading this post and replies. The lack of guilt I feel for not going to church lessens every time I attend church. What was at one time perceived as a necessary for feeding and worship, I now view as a freedom turned into a law and a place for believers to be stratified into degrees of importance. Its far better to have the rare occasion of very real fellowship while fishing then the frequent experience of being around other supposed lovers of God who got nothing other than faithful attendance at events who like their Pastor. At my 40th class reunion I too was challenged with the usual where do you go to church and I plainly and directly say I do not go to church nor do I believe in going to church, nor do I believe that Hebrews 10:25 is talking about going to church. Recently my wife brought home CDs from a local Baptist church she attended with our neighbor. In previous times I would of gobbled up those CDs because I was always looking for a “better place”.. I have NOT touched those CDs as I find them not even interesting enough to even listen to out of curiosity. Why, because what will I find with a tape? A good Pastor with a good set of doctrines and a fine teaching style? Or will I find a brother I can be close too? Likely the first and not the second..

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Alan, Good to hear from you again and that your journey out of Babylon has been eye opening for you. I pray that you are also finding a closer relationship with Jesus out here for that is the real purpose of Him calling us out of man made religion. HE IS the “better place” and the Good Shepherd we seek. Even David had that figured out saying, “The LORD is my Shepherd…”

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Alan Haungs says:

    Michael

    Hi, I am glad you are doing this blog.

    I used to enjoy the fellowshipping with various saints on Wayne’s blog but that has slowly became a place where fewer and fewer participate. It appears to me that after the movie THE SHACK was released that I never heard again from anyone on that blog.

    Some of us would discuss our freedoms from the Christian synagogue. The blind man healed by Christ (then excommunication from the synagogue) finally saw the Christ clearly and directly after his excommunication.

    The matter of meeting attendance has been a major issue that I see as one of those arrangements which is ripe for corruption when attendance becomes a law.

    I enjoy my daily reading and study of scripture, which seems to be a pretty good source of food even without the synagogue attendance and furthermore I think I see the Christ clearer and dearer without the synagogue.
    .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Alan, I am not too surprised about what has happened on Wayne’s blog. I lost interest in it when I was attacked for pointing out that many of them were making an idol out of that fictional story, “The Shack,” and that it was wrong to portray God the way it did when Jesus Christ is the expressed image of the Father (see Hebrew 1:3), not an overweight black woman who likes to cook. I was not surprised that Paul and Wayne ended up in a law suit when the movie rights came into view and millions of dollars were at stake.

      I am glad that you are finding your time in the Bible food for your spirit, Alan. Once I unplugged from my institutional umbilical and started to listen to my true Teacher without all the confusing voices of men with their own agendas, spiritual truth came much more into focus. I was no longer trying to rectify the lies that I was being taught (the traditions of men) to what the Bible really says and was able to let it speak for itself with the Spirit’s help. Yes, the story of the blind man being healed and his witness to The Christ and his resulting excommunication is a close parallel to what happens when one starts to gain spiritual sight.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. gbhalford says:

    Thanks for this post Michael, and for all the comments shared by others…

    [Alan] “a place for believers to be stratified into degrees of importance”… Oh yes, haven’t we all experienced that one – both being involved in it ourselves (getting our own ‘self-worth’ from our ‘place’ in the system), or watching others get sucked into its tentacles, without realizing the devastation it was causing to our spiritual lives ! Unfortunately, that problem arises anywhere and everywhere that the old ‘self nature’ is allowed to live on. Father, please help me to ‘die and stay dead’ !

    Blessings in Him, Gordon H.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Gordon, this sounds all too familiar. I started out with a desire to succeed in that system. I have found that the people that are just “wall flowers” and never start to rise in the power structure or do anything that draws attention to themselves (like obeying the Spirit), see nothing wrong and are quite happy there. Eventually, if you listen to the Spirit you come to realize that you are not one of them and don’t belong there. Or as Robert Frost wrote,

      “I shall be telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • gbhalford says:

        Oh yes, Michael, it has made all the difference, and once having really started on that road (with the hand to the plow), there is no going back (or looking back)… Heb 12:2

        Liked by 1 person

    • Alan Haungs says:

      Hi Gordan,

      The wife and I recently had a nice reunion with a missionary couple we were close to, who was also once a part of the church movement I was excommunicated out of. They where “a high value asset” to the movement.

      Surprisingly to me, they got ex-fellowshipped after practicing “church planting” in such a manner that failed to cement the jurisdiction of the leader of the mother church, by not firmly cementing him as the new churches ultimate apostle, via a sub-mechanism implied within the practice called “the ground of locality”.

      I could understand my excommunication easily because I called that same “apostle” a liar, but to see even them get the axe for not using the ground of locality formula perfectly and strictly was a shock to me.

      That super-apostle was welcomed to speak and visit the new church “they planted” in Africa, but that was not good enough for that apostle and hence relegated that church and that couple in the garbage church category. .

      My observation is that the more important a person becomes the more isolated and removed they become from the benefits from other believers. .

      And the more the church is a garbage church, the more the riches of Christ abound among them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Alan, your comment to Gordon reminded me of what the disciple said as he parroted the view of the Jews when he heard about Jesus, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

        So often men of power in the Church become so important in their own minds that they are more used of the devil than they are of God.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Alan Haungs says:

    Michael,

    it appears to me that one of the main reasons people attend church is to get fed from a particularly “gifted cook”.

    It also appears to me that the main reason a mouse enters a mouse trap is also to be fed especially delightful food. And finally, it appears to me that eating was an important ingredient in the fall of mankind.

    Satan as well as God uses man’s need for nourishment.

    It should be no surprise that many a cook among the church are the devil’s cooks.

    This explains how it is that after many years of eating prepared foods from certain VERY IMPORTANT cooks; that those eaters themselves never developed the ability to sow, farm, reap, harvest and prepare the feast themselves.

    I also noticed that the routine prepared foods my be rich in some nutrients while lacking in others.

    Imagine if all of God’s farmers were functioning and preparing and serving, each their own unique contribution into the comprehensive- variety-smorgasbord of the vast dimensions of Christ to the church.

    But alas, sorry Michael, I can only eat food from the brother so and so diner…….why? Because he told me so.

    BTW in the OT, I am presently reading through Judges. Wow, what an interesting source and variety of vegetables, fruits and meat there. Chapter 11 was quite the chapter as I had to linger and research the multitude of opinions on the web before I felt comfortable that I finally understood Jephthah’s sacrifice of his daughter. If any of you find that chapter particularly troublesome I found a real good explanation if it interests you.

    .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Very interesting parody, Alan. Yes, if the church is functioning as a body with Christ as the ONE Head, we will all be eating from the Tree of Life, instead of the tree of human and satanic knowledge. The Bread of Life has all the nutrients we need for a healthy spiritual body.

      Like

  14. Allan Halton says:

    Michael, if I had met that young man in the circumstances you describe, I wonder if I might not consider going with him– to show that even though I walk the way I walk, I still identify with and deeply love the people of God wherever they are scattered. I know and appreciate the liberty I have, and going with him would not constrain that liberty. In fact the fragrance of Christ in me, who leads me as one of His captives, might speak to that young man, and maybe others too. Just a thought.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Allan. Like I said, I have to do what the Spirit leads me to do, not what He tells Allan or anyone else. So far, He has not led me to go to this gathering, but I do feel a kinship with this brother. He has led me to accept this kind of invitation in the past, though, but not this one.

      “Jesus said unto her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.'” (John 4:21-23, KJ2000)

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Hola Michael, gracias por tan bello mensaje. A menudo el Señor me ha llevado a estar sola y me he encontrado haciendo Su voluntad en Su dirección. La semana pasada conocí a una señora en un consultorio médico y compartimos del Señor, pero al igual que te pasó a ti, esta mujer me invitó a su iglesia local. Yo simplemente sonreí y la abracé y me fui. Oro por ella para que el Señor le enseñe esta lección. También la semana pasada me encontré en una cafeteria compartiendo del Señor con alguien que perdió a su madre por un cáncer. Dios me lleva donde me necesita, ya no es como antes. Ya no estamos movidos por el líder del grupo, ahora seguimos al Cordero por donde Él vaya. Gloria a Dios por eso. Un abrazo mi hermano. Hace días no te veo en google+

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Patricia wrote,

      “Hi Michael, thank you for such a beautiful message. Often the Lord has led me to be alone and I have found myself doing His will at His direction. Last week I met a lady in a doctor’s office and we shared the Lord, but as happened to you, this woman invited me to her local church. I just smiled and hugged her and left. I pray for her that the Lord will teach her this lesson. Also last week I found myself in a cafeteria sharing the Lord with someone who lost his mother to cancer. God takes me where he needs me. It is not like before for we are no longer moved by the leader of the group, but we now follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Glory to God for that. A hug my brother. It has been many days since I have seen you on Google Plus.”

      Patricia, you are welcome. It is good to hear from you again. Thank you as well for posting our book, “The New Exodus” on your blog.

      Yes, Patricia, I still have a Google Plus account, but have quit using it. I got off of Facebook as well at the direction of the Lord. I find it more soothing with less distractions to be out in God’s creation. He sends people my way, just the same, as He wills (as I spoke of in this blog article). I am glad that you are following the Lamb wherever He leads you. Yes, glory to the Father and the Son.

      Like

      • Es una alegría poder compartir contigo y con los hermanos que están en este camino de obediencia y sujeción a Cristo.

        El Señor me guio a que publicara el Nuevo Éxodo en mi blog y lo hiciera por capítulos. Para que no tengan excusas para leerlo jajajajaja.

        Tienes razón, las redes son una distracción y sin ellas es mucho más calmado, para dedicarnos a lo realmente importante, escuchar la voz de Dios sin distracciones de ningún tipo.

        El Señor obra como Él quiere y nos lleva de Su mano por Su camino.

        Un abrazo gigante mi amigo y hermano.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Patricia,

        Gracias mi querida amiga y hermana.

        Michael

        Like

  16. Dan says:

    Good post..
    —-
    For me, spiritual fellowship / conversation happens in coffee shop setting.
    —-
    Even Men’s breakfast / fellowship setting, it tends to become another program.
    – In churches.

    I like your emphasis about ” to be led by the Spirit.. ”

    Dan

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      I agree, Dan. To have true fellowship IN Christ there must be communication in His love and a typical church service prohibits that. Bigger is not better when it comes to heart to heart communications. One on one in His love is always the best. When Jesus wanted to have communion with His Father He got away from the crowds and got alone with Him, He did not go to the temple or a synagogue to pray.

      This morning I had a wonderful time with another Dan who lives here locally as we fellowshipped together in a Denny’s restaurant. It started getting too loud in there so He suggested we go to his house where I got to meet two of his young daughters and finally his wife joined us in the living room and we had a great time together talking about what a blessing it is to be able to communicate and share with one another free of the restrictions put upon us in an institutionalized setting.

      The four of us (both couples) plan to get together for dinner, soon. As soon as we forget that we are members one of another in God’s family and institutional-ism enters in, true fellowship dies.

      Thanks for your comment, Dan.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Alan Haungs says:

    Attended the Baptist church down the street this Sunday with the wife and neighbor, as my wife is exploring what other Christians do: other than the movement she was raised-in does. We learned this Sunday that there are 7 kinds of churches and the last one is the spiritual church, which also happens to be what that Baptist church we attended is.

    (WOW I didn’t see that coming, golly wiz lucky us!)

    Some of the bad churches include the: FELLOWSHIP CHURCH and the FRIENDSHIP CHURCHES.

    Yahoo….finally we have found a church without fellowship and friendship because the SPIRITUAL CHURCH is only a feeding place.

    So after the Pastor packed our spiritual tummies with heaping servings of spiritual canned soup and spiritual Hostess Twinkies, we traveled back home bloated and barely able to function.

    After my wife tasted his cooking we have since begun to read the Bible together, something I have been pushing for years, but I think my wife was previously doubtful that we could cook better than those professional hired MaterChefs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, Alan. I remember trying numerous churches hoping to get my hunger satisfied for a church that functioned like a healthy family, only to be disappointed over and over again. In my case, my wife was tired of seeing me being rejected by these “master tailors” (to change metaphors) because their required spiritual straight-jackets didn’t fit. Sooner or later we always found out, as the kids story goes, “The tailor himself (king of the congregation) had no clothes.”

      My search ended when one Sunday while being spoon fed their pet doctrines, I heard the Lord say quite clearly, “Why do you keep seeking the Living among the dead?” Like the One who told us that HE is the Life said to another woman trying to find ‘the right church’, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father …the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. (John 4:21-23, KJ2000) The Spirit is our Teacher, not men if we have spiritual ears to hear.

      Lessons hard learned, my brother. I pray that the Spirit enlivens your search together in the Bible.,

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

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