Show me Your glory, I pray.
When Pharaoh let the people go… The LORD went in front of
them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way,
and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they
might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day
nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Exodus 13:17a, 21-22
Have you ever come to that proverbial fork in the road and struggled as to which way to go? Have you ever tossed and turned on your bed wanting to know what to do? If you have, count yourself in great company. It has been observed that the most often repeated prayer in the Bible is for God to guide. Again and again, we overhear the people of God praying for divine guidance. “Lead me, O LORD…” (Psalm 5:8). “Teach me Your way, O LORD…” (Psalm 27:11). The psalmist praises God for His promise to show him the way: “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8), and rests secure in knowing that God “leads me in right paths for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3b). God’s good name is at stake in knowing how to lead His people. It is good to be reminded that God is more interested in getting us where He wants us, than we are to get there.
God’s faithfulness in leading His people is seen in today’s scripture where no sooner has God delivered them from bondage than He goes with them to lead the way. We see that God Himself was present in “a pillar of cloud by day….and in a pillar of fire by night” to show the way. When the people saw the pillar of cloud and fire move, they were to move, and when it stopped, they were to stop (See also Numbers 9:15-23). God made Himself present to His people to lead them. God did more than give them a map and good directions; God personally went with them “to seek out a place for you to camp, in fire by night, and in the cloud by day, to show you the route you should take” (Deuteronomy 1:33).
It is not only ancient Israelites who are sorely in need of divine guidance; we need it too! As they are a “type” of us as we make our journey, so we can be assured of God leading us from the house of bondage to the Promised Land. But we have something that even they did not have; we have the gift of the presence of the Holy Spirit within to lead us! Jesus promised His followers that the Holy Spirit will be “with you forever…and he will be in you” (John 14:16-17). And Jesus assures that the Holy Spirit “will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). The apostle Paul concluded that being led by the Spirit is actually a mark of being God’s child: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Romans 8:14).
It is essential in making our journeys to be assured that God does lead us. I can’t say that I have always felt God’s guidance, but as I look back over my life I can see that He has always faithfully guided me. A heart willing to follow God’s leading is a must for knowing His leading. I have found the counsel by James Dobson helpful for following God:
“I get down on my knees and say, ‘Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, and I am listening. Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines I pick up and read, and through circumstances.’”
A willing heart is perhaps the biggest part of experiencing God’s leading! God’s love is infinitely creative so that how He leads one person might be very different from how He leads another. It is a mark of God’s personal, individual care for each of us in our Wilderness journey.
- Are you willing right now for God to lead you?
- How do you need God to lead you? Be specific. Talk to God about this.