Life and sin happen. The question of suffering and why, is irrelevant in the current discussion because it doesn’t make the desert more or less real. It surrounds everyone of us at one time or another. Jeff Manion, in his book The Land Between, writes about the reality of the desert and attempts to put perspective on our time spent there. In tracing the interaction between Moses and God in Numbers 11 (the primary text) and the life of Abraham (secondary), minion makes a case for our desert tour as a time of learning who God really is.
Manion’s book is an extended study of Moses and Israel’s complaint to God in Numbers 11. The people are stuck in the desert and have been dining on manna for quite sometime. They are tired and hungry! They want meat, a complaint made clear to God! Deserts are fertile ground for very few things, but complaining, bitterness, and worry are a few of them. When we find ourselves in transition, in the desert, minion reminds us to fight against there things with all our will. God answers their complaints by giving them meat, but it doesn’t go the way they want. A plague comes upon the people. Minion observes that the things we want in the desert arn’t always the best things for us. The life in transition is life lived learning to walk in step with The Lord!
The Land Between was a series of sermons originally. It reads just like that. There are many illustrations and a lot of application woven throughout the book. The book doesn’t cover the entirety of the wilderness wandering but attempts to exegete this passage and use it as a pattern for the rest of Israel’s time in the desert. This was a solid book that brings wisdom to those who find themselves in the midst of the desert.