In The Land of Milk

Over the next ten weeks I will share my top ten discoveries and experiences from our trips to Israel. This particular insight was a discovery from our trip in 2010.      # 10. I must not be afraid of “the land of milk.” It’s the best place to hear from God, to get prepared for ministry, and to build trust in God.
The Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua often refer to the Promised Land as the land of milk and honey. When we hear the phrase “milk and honey” we often think of a land lush with the finest of fruits and vegetables. We picture the Promised Land as a land lavished with an abundance of food and other resources in which a person could maintain a very comfortable lifestyle—that would actually be the land of honey which is the northern part of Israel.
But for now, I want you to picture “the land of milk” as the desert, a land where the average rain fall is less than eleven inches per year. Pretty much everything is desert wasteland, although there’s just enough vegetation to keep a few camels, goats, and sheep alive. It’s called a land of milk because here is where we saw all the goat, sheep, and camel herds; animals of course that produce milk. The land south and east of Jerusalem, especially in the areas of En Gedi and the Dead Sea was the land of milk.
Ok, why should you and I not be afraid of the land of milk? Although it’s the desert, the land of milk is a place of quiet meditation. There is no traffic there, no electronic devices, no need for list of things to do, no hurried places to go, or deadlines to meet. There are no sounds of industry; no need to worry about what was left undone today, no sleepless nights wondering how to create a more unified work environment.  The land of milk is a quiet place of Sabbath rest where a person can give honest reflection to the nature of God and his/her created purpose. It’s a place where you can be quiet enough to actually hear the voice of God.
What I found fascinating was that our tour guide, Dr Bryan Widbin, spends about 2-3 weeks out in the desert each year visiting the Bedouins of southern Israel. He shared that when he goes out into the desert, he takes time to reflect on his life and ministry using these 5 powerful questions:
1. Identify one key characteristic about Jesus that I want to magnify in my life? Why that characteristic?
2. Do I have a clearly defined plan to help the next generation?
3. Do I give enough priority to those closest to me? As a father? As a husband?
4. Do I need a sharper edge to my personal vision, mission?
5. When facing intimidating situations, do I trust God enough to follow him?
While your time with the Lord out in the land of milk might produce questions more applicable to your situation, I certainly would encourage you to consider these.
As Bryan shared with us, most often before God can use a man or woman greatly, he takes them out in the desert. It’s in the desert times of life where you and I really learn how to trust God. It’s out in the desert where we are stripped of all self sufficiency and can learn dependence on God. Just think about how God prepared Moses while spending 40 years in the desert, or his Son who spent 40 days in the desert before he started his ministry. My desert equipping experience was three years in seminary .
While I rarely enjoy the discomfort of the desert, I also realize it’s in our desert experiences that God reveals himself to us more clearly and that our faith is strengthened. Having gained insight into this powerful truth, I plan on spending at least a few days each year going out to the land of milk (any place where I can get away from the hustle and bustle of life) in order to more fully experience God.
May we all be a people who eagerly embrace time in the land of milk.  From a fellow nomad,  Mike

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