Numbers 9: 17–18 “And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.”
After reading this passage, I am reminded of how much the Israelites depended upon God. God, in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night, guided the people on their journey to Canaan. Where God would go, they would go. When God would start, they would start. When God would stop, they would stop. Furthermore, not only did God provide the guidance and direction of the journey towards the promise land, but He also graciously provided the Israelites their food, water, and protection from all of their enemies. The Israelites were utterly and completely dependent upon God, and not once did He fail to provide.
Psalm 37:28 “For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
Just like God never failed to provide for His children in the Old Testament, He promises to provide for His children today, and for all generations. If God is graciously willing to provide for us today, we need to make the decision to allow him to guide us in our lives. There are extremely distracting temptations and worldly views trying to knock us off our path, not the least is which the idea of self -sufficiency. For those who are blessed enough to have a job, own a car, have shelter, and eat enough food till the point of being stuffed, it is sometimes easy to say “look at what I have done and accomplished.” We can quickly forget who has provided us with the blessings (James 1:17), which leads to becoming puffed up and ungrateful, which ultimately leads to a separation from God.
The children of Israel found themselves wandering forty years in the wilderness after forgetting who had provided for them on their trip from Egypt to Canaan. They were presented with an opportunity to trust in God, and to allow God to give them the promise land, but instead they (excluding Joshua and Caleb) chose to not recall all of the power and miracles God displayed on their journey and cower down to the people of Jericho. They didn’t put their faith in God and they didn’t allow God to guide them.
Psalms 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
We need to fight in our lives not to forget who has provided for us and who has given us every good gift that we have. When we start to forget that God has provided us with the blessings that we partake in, trouble is sure to come.
Maintaining the mindset that God is our guide, and provider for everything we need, will help to keep us humble and lowly in heart. Truly recognizing that we are dependent upon God to provide for us and our families would alleviate any problems we might have with looking down on others for having less or flaunting our God given blessings arrogantly. Full heartedly knowing that God is the one who has provided the blessings would take all of the attention off of the individual and put all of the attention on God, which is what Christians are to strive to accomplish. Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.”
Psalm 119: 105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
God doesn’t choose to lead His children today by way of a cloud, but he has given us everything we need to follow Him on our road to heaven. The Bible is God’s gift to his children today. We are expected to know what it says and to follow what it says. We shouldn’t obey the words in the Bible begrudgingly, instead we should obey them because we love God and because we want to see His face and sing praises to Him in heaven one day. God provided the guidance for the Israelites towards Canaan, just like He has provided us the guidance towards heaven. Let’s all strive to stay on the narrow path following Him there.