…I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Galatians 1:17
Upon his conversion, Paul tells us he spent three years in Arabia. Why Arabia? We aren’t specifically told, but we do know the desert is a special time of preparation in the Bible. Moses was in the desert 40 years prior to being called by God to set the Israelites free from Egyptian slavery. It would prepare him to lead the Israelites through the desert for 40 years before entering the promised land.
The Israelites’ time in the desert taught them who God was and what it meant to be set apart; what it meant to follow and worship Him.
David spent much time in the desert prior to becoming King of Israel, hiding for his life, but also drawing near to God. Here he wrote many of the Psalms.
Jesus, upon being baptized, immediately went and prayed and fasted in the desert for 40 days, overcoming temptation from the devil himself. Preparation for His public ministry.
Paul spends three years in the desert preparing for his calling.
Deuteronomy 8:2-6 gives some insight into what desert times teach us and prepare us for: They humble us (8:2), they reveal what is in our heart (8:2), they challenge us to keep His commands (8:2), they remind us that God alone provides all our needs (8:3-4), and they remind us to fear and obey Him (8:5-6).
I’m praying now for all those in desert times. That instead of fighting and lamenting it, you are able to embrace it. That you are drawing nearer to God and being filled with His love and knowledge and power while in the desert.
Questions: Has your world been rocked? Do you feel like you are going through a desert time? What might God be preparing you for? What can you be learning and growing in during this desert time?