“Everything you need has been purchased by the blood of Jesus . . . for your enjoyment now, in the midst of the wilderness, and your enjoyment forever.” –– John Piper

In his keynote message at TGCW22, John Piper describes four scenes in the wilderness of Exodus 17 that are brimming with implications for our own lives:

1. God brought his people to a waterless place in the wilderness on purpose. God commands the movement of our lives—we don’t go into the wilderness by accident.

2. The Israelites didn’t trust God’s saving purposes but instead despised God. God’s patience will run out with those who despise instead of trust him.

3. God answers the people with water and, more importantly, with his life-giving presence. What people need more than water is God’s presence, even today.

4. Moses memorializes the failure of the Israelites. God intends for this failure to be seen in light of the gift—God himself. “In your wilderness,” Piper says, “don’t be like them. Do not harden your hearts. Trust him.”

Piper closes by referencing how God passed over the sins of the people in the Old Testament by punishing those sins through the cross of Christ 1,400 years later. Piper says, “Every undeserved blessing you will ever taste now and forever is owing to the death of Jesus.”

Though we may not understand all the reasons why God chooses to bring us into the wilderness, we can trust his character, his saving power, and his good purposes. In the wilderness, may we thirst for more than water—finding all we need in Jesus.

Editors’ note: 

John Piper is a keynote speaker at TGC’s 2023 Conference, “Hope in the Wilderness,” September 25–27, in Indianapolis. You can browse the complete list of topics and speakers. Register soon!