He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
As I read this verse this morning, two things occurred to me.
First, the verse says that God did not withdraw His guidance or presence. So many times in walking with God, I find myself thinking that He is distant or that He isn’t giving me direction when in truth the proof of His presence and guidance is immediately evident if I would just look. He did not take away the pillar by day or by night, so Israel had proof of His presence and proof of His guidance. Even with obvious evidence that this was God’s handiwork, Israel still managed to complain about Moses bringing them out into the wilderness. Even with a very visible and present proof of God hanging with them, Israel still managed to be afraid when Pharaoh and his army showed up. For all those times when I somehow manage to think God is not providing guidance and all those times when I think the army is more frightening than the pillar of fire, I have a lot of company. In case it seems I’m reaching in thinking that God would extend the same sort of courtesy to me, a Christian, that He did to the nation of Israel I need only refer to Jesus’ promise that He will never leave me nor forsake me. The God who kept the pillar in front of Israel is the same God Who promises not to leave or forsake me.
Second, this verse does not say that Israel focused on the pillar. If they had focused on the pillar of cloud and fire then it is possible that they would not have panicked at Pharaoh’s appearance. If they had kept their eyes on the pillar’s presence and what that meant then they might not have blamed Moses and gotten all gripe-y and complain-y while traveling through the wilderness. If they had kept their eyes and minds on Who that pillar represented then they might have realized that God Himself was chilling with them and the whole “Golden Calf Incident” might not have happened. The same things are true for me. If I keep myself focused on Who is present with me then I am less likely to be intimidated by what’s stacked up against me. If I follow the guidance that is huge and kind of general in direction then God can fine tune my movements along the way.
That’s it for this morning. I need to keep my eyes on the evidences that God had given me of His presence and His guidance and He will not withdraw them.
Father, please forgive those times (numerous as they are) that I’ve taken my eyes off of You and the evidence that You’re with me and the guidance that You’ve provided and gotten intimidated by circumstance or overwhelmed by the expansiveness of the place You’re leading me through. Please strengthen me to keep my eyes where they ought to be: on You. Thank You for the promise that You will not withdraw guidance or the evidence of Your presence.