Oswald Chambers playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=10F140787559EB2B
The Decree of the Desolating Desert - Oswald Chambers And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. (Genesis 3:17) In actual life there is a desolating desert, and it is there by the decree of God; the Bible knows nothing about what we call natural law. Back of the origin of the desert is the decree of God. The desolating desert is not a distress to God, it is completely within His grasp, although not within ours. One characteristic of the desert is its fierce, cruel, unshielding light. "The sun shall not smite thee by day. . . ." Another characteristic of the desert is its storms; these are never beneficial, they are of the sirocco order, blighting, fierce and pitiless. Jeremiah describes them—"At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of My people, not to fan, nor to cleanse" (Jeremiah 4:11). The sun as seen in the desert is not a benediction, the storms are not beneficial storms; and night in the desert is a desperate thing. It is all very well to think of the night in our own land, but night in the desert is appalling. Little bits of the desert are fascinating, but the real thing is terrible—"that great and terrible wilderness" (Deuteronomy 1:19
). The characteristics of the desert are the characteristics of God to a man when he tastes life as it is. Ibsen saw very clearly the desolating desert of life, i.e., the terrific penalty of sin, and he also saw God as He appears to a man awakened to the facts of existence. We are apt to say that Ibsen was pessimistic, but every man whose thinking has not been interfered with by his temperament is a pessimist. To think fair and square is not to see goodness and purity everywhere, but to see something that produces despair. When a man sees life as it really is there are only two alternatives—the Cross of Jesus Christ as something to accept, or suicide. We are shielded by a merciful density, by a curious temperament of hopefulness that keeps us blind to the desolating desert.