“Let my people go, so that they can hold a festival in the desert to honour me”.
Ex 5:1 GNB
Most people have some idea that God is more present in some places than others. So they would probably say that God is most present in a religious sanctuary, in the mountains, a beautiful garden, or beside a quiet river. Some places acquire such associations with spiritual activities that they come to be revered as “holy ground” .
The Egyptian desert was not such a place. But then Egypt had two associations for the people of Israel. It was the scene of their slavery. And it was a place of foreign gods to who their Lord was implacably opposed. It was therefore probable that God might have directed his people to seek a place that was empty of Egyptian influence. What we have to note is that this demand came, not from Moses as such, but from God himself.
It is unlikely that many people today would want to go looking for God in a desert. The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost has universalized God, and believing Christians know that he can be “found” wherever they seek him. So a group of believers in an industrial context might “find God” in a canteen or an office where they decide to gather for a lunch-time prayer meeting. Salvationists have done it in many a town square. And private individuals have turned a bedroom, a lounge, or even a garden shed into the place where they “hold a festival” to honour God. It was in the desert that God appeared and spoke to the Israelites, giving them the commandments which became the charter of their way of life.
Lord, help me to honour you always, wherever I may be.