Most 21st-century Americans don’t have a good grasp of ancient middle-eastern geography. Yet, we can clearly see that most of the Old Testament stories take place in the Syrian wilderness. But, how are we to understand this geographical information? In today’s podcast, we’ll see how the Syrian wilderness reinforces our previous theme, shepherdism, and how it urges us to trust in God’s instruction rather than human civilization or philosophy.
- The Old Testament always speaks in concrete images, so the image of a shepherd in the field is not a philosophical, abstract image. Scripture actually envisions the people, living by “Shepherdism,” in an actual geographical location that is much larger than Bible maps usually depict. This is the Syrian Wilderness.
- The Syrian wilderness is important because all the shepherds and tribes have to live together. They wander until they find an oasis and they exist in peace under the command of God’s word and instruction.
- God’s instruction is given to us in the wilderness. In fact, key moments of instruction are always in the wilderness: the Law of Moses is given in at Mt. Sinai and Jesus gives his Sermon on the Mount away from the cities.
- The words for “word” and “wilderness” in Hebrew are related, which reinforces the idea that God’s word gives life even in the wilderness away from the laws of the king. This connection is clear in the Song of Solomon.
What is The Way?
Fr. Dustin Lyon explores scripture to rediscover Christianity so that we can walk in the Way of the Lord.