Desert Quest


They kill their kings one after another,
and no one cries out to me for help.
Hosea 7:7 NLT

One of my sons has a deep love for really, really obscure facts. You could name just about any topic and he would know something extremely random about it. It’s fun except when you are in a hurry and don’t need to know the history of toilet paper while you’re waiting for someone to bring you a roll of it. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.)

Awhile back, he asked me if I knew what world’s largest desert was. Foolishly, I started listing off all the deserts I know (not many… maybe two on a good day) and his smile grew larger with each “nope” he gave me in response. Finally I gave up and he told me: Antartica. Antartica?! I literally never, never, ever would have guessed that. (I even googled it to see if he was correct and it appears he might just be.) I had it stuck in my head that a desert is defined by sand, excessive heat, minimal water, a random sprinkling of cacti and maybe a few vultures picking at dead things. Because my trust in that image was so firm, I would have literally never guessed the correct answer without redefining the question.

The memory of that event rushed back to me as I thought about God’s words in Hosea this week. Here’s the verse that hit me:

They kill their kings one after another, and no one cries out to me for help. (Hosea 7:7 NLT)

Everyone loves a good scapegoat, apparently including the people of Hosea’s day. They plotted and schemed to eliminate man-made problems with man-made solutions. Unfortunately, those methods were just as likely to eliminate their struggles as my false image of a desert was going to get me a correct answer. God’s people needed to re-define the problem in order to get the right solution. It wasn’t a new king that they needed, it was The King – the Prince of Peace, the Almighty Father, the Everlasting One, our God.

And I could say the exact same things about my life today. My problem isn’t due to a lack of health, time or wealth. My problem won’t be resolved by a new president or boss. Just like the people of Israel, if those are my answers to life struggles, then I’m trusting in my own image of life, rather than God’s.

I need to take some time this week to pause and reflect on God’s definition for my life. That will allow me to start asking the right questions and – eventually – the right answers.


Dear Lord, every day I realize more and more how much like the Israelites I am. I can’t separate myself from their foolish ways because I make the same stupid mistakes. I’m constantly trying to solve my problems with my answers. Please forgive me and give me the wisdom and discernment to cry out to YOU for help. Let me patiently and determinedly define my life in your words. Amen.

photo credit: <a href=”″>Saguaro</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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  1. Nick

    So, what is the definition of a desert?

    • messyworship

      According to the Wolf-tionary: A desert is any place that doesn’t get a lot of rain and can’t really keep plants or animals alive very well.
      Merriam-Webster says: Arid land with usually sparse vegetation; especially : such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually.


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