Wilderness of Paran
This is a wonderful place, this spiritual wilderness called
Paran, which in Hebrew means "glory" or "beauty."
To see the wilderness in such gratifying terms, one must first
become aware of the Lord's intentions in bringing a person
into the wilderness. Once a believer comes to this awareness,
he can then begin to understand how glory and beauty can relate
to the Wilderness.
The wilderness is the Lord's workshop, which He has designed
for us. He brings into it, "Even every one who is called
by My name, for I have created him for My glory" Isaiah
43:7a. We are brought here to see His glory, to relate to
it, to learn from it, and most importantly, to be conformed
to His image.
The wilderness is a part of our spiritual development and
is necessary for our growth. It opens our vision to Himself
and to His provisions for us. It is that which the Lord uses
to bring spiritual enrichment into our lives.
We would prefer that the Lord work on us in green pastures,
or beside still waters. Although these are a part of our Christian
experience, certain types of work are not accomplished in
us, except in the wilderness. It is an essential part of the
Christian life, whether we like it or not.
The wilderness may not be seen by some as being a launching
pad into the realm of spiritual life. But the wilderness is
just that, and more; it is the place of opportunity. Here,
the children of Israel were made ready to go further. The
Lord Himself initiated the conquest of Canaan at this time,
from this place, as seen in Numbers 13:3.
"And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them
from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were
heads of the children of Israel."
There are two areas of blessing that relate to the wilderness.
One is the blessings which are discovered within the wilderness.
The other is the preparation for blessings, which follow the
wilderness experience. These are dependent on how we responded
to the Lord while in the wilderness.
"And the children of Israel took their journeys out
the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the
wilderness of Paran" Numbers 10:12.
This was not their choice, rather it was the Lord's choice
and direction for them. The Israelites were to follow the
cloud and stop where it stopped, and move only when it moved.
The first lesson to be learned is to follow and abide in His
We are not to be afraid of the wilderness. Our times in the
wilderness may be the only occasions when the Lord imparts
certain divine principles and rich revelations to us. Thus,
the wilderness is the place of our greatest progression in
God. There are certain things which the Lord can bring to
us only in the wilderness, as we properly relate to His glory
in the wilderness.
The second lesson to be learned is that we are not to complain
and question the Lord as we follow. "Why did the cloud
stop here? Does the Lord know that there is no water here?
Did He bring us here to kill us?" The answer is that
He brings us here for this very purpose; to kill all that
will in any way hinder our going further.
The children of Israel followed the cloud to green grass.
The name of the place was "Hazeroth," which means
a "green enclosure." It was a luscious place which
was most pleasing to those camping there. But they were not
permitted to remain there long, as they were to follow the
It soon moved from Hazeroth, as recorded in Numbers 12:16.
"And afterward, the people removed from Hazeroth, and
pitched in the wilderness of Paran." The green grass
of Hazeroth is desired by all, but it does not fully and totally
meet man's spiritual needs. The leadership directly under
Moses failed while in the green grass. There, "the anger
of the LORD was kindled against them (Aaron and Miriam); and
He departed" Numbers 12:9.
POINT OF VIEW
What is seen, or not seen in the wilderness, depends upon
our point of view, or the direction in which we habitually
"And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole
congregation of the children of Israel, that they
looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory
of the Lord appeared in the cloud," Exodus 16:10.
The gaze of the Israelites had just been on the meat which
they did not have, but desired. Only when they looked toward
the wilderness did they see the glory of God.
The reason many believers, upon many different occasions,
miss seeing the glory of God is that they are looking toward
that which they desire. They are looking toward Canaan Land,
when they should be looking toward the wilderness.
If the glory of the Lord is appearing in the wilderness,
and we are looking longingly at the Promised Land, we may
see the Promised Land, but we will not see the glory of God.
When the glory of God has come to the wilderness, it is time
to give the wilderness our attention.
A particular opportunity is seen in verse two of Numbers
13. "Send thou men, that they may search the land of
Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel." These
men are going to search and discover. They are going to move
toward that which the Lord had promised them.
Although many are brought to the wilderness to see the glory
of God, not all see it. The direction of our vision at any
particular time in our life will determine what we will see.
We will miss seeing His goodness if we constantly gaze at
unfulfilled desires, and long for the comforts of the flesh.
Let us lay aside our fleshly desires and follow our Maker
without complaining and questioning. As we accomplish these
things we will see more clearly the purposes that the Lord
has for us.
Note: This article is edited from the book, "Wilderness
of Paran" by Charles Haun. Charles taught from time to
time for many years at Pinecrest. He has published a series
of eight books on the wildernesses that are listed in Scripture.
These eight books are available at the Pinecrest Book Store.
Call 1-800-579-5973 to order.