The Cloud and the Fire

Honest Posts about Everyday Life Where We Learn to Be More Like Christ ~by Elizabeth Smith
 

I have been studying the book of Numbers lately and reading all about the Israelite’s journey in the desert…that lengthy 40 year journey. You know the one where they were freed from slavery, had a direct 2-week route through the desert into the promised land, had some issues, and then wandered around…FOR A VERY LONG TIME …questioning God…disobeying…fearing…complaining…

Hmmmmm…sounds like us sometimes doesn’t it?

One of the things I love about this story is that yes, they were wandering around a lot, but they had this pillar of cloud during the day to guide them and this pillar of fire at night to give them light. When it moved, they packed up and followed. When it stopped, they camped and stayed. Wow! Can you imagine something that visual showing you exactly where to go?

 

I mean, who here feels like they are wandering in the desert…not sure what God is calling them to do? There are times when life takes us into these dry and dead places. We wonder if we’ve done something wrong…if we’ve wandered from God…if we’re screwing up somehow. OK – maybe that’s just me. But there’s my life…and then there’s God’s plan. I need to make sure I know who’s leading. (That’s why a pillar of cloud and fire would be very helpful – right?)

God’s plan for the Israelites was to cross the desert into the Promised Land in a lot less time, but they did not trust…and they complained…and they were arrogant…and they feared…and God just really wanted them to fully rely on Him. So He kept leading them around and around and around…until they died and a new generation got it right!

YIKES! DON’T DO THAT!

Are we wandering around in a desert place because we are like the Israelites? Take a good look into your soul right now. Do you trust God with where you are, with everything you have, and with where He will lead you? Are you complaining about your current circumstances? Are you boastful? Are you anxious and fearful? I can’t always say that I’m getting all those things right.

However, I know deep down when I’m getting them wrong. I feel it…I sense it…God lets me know. In those moments, I strive not to be like those wandering Israelites. I seek God to change my heart when I cannot do it on my own.

But, also don’t despair when you feel you are stuck in the desert. God may have you there for a reason. Be at peace in the desert because God may be refining you. Maybe He’s helping you find peace. Maybe He’s helping you trust. Maybe he’s helping you find humility. It’s too bad we don’t have a pillar of fire and smoke to lead us to exactly the place where God wants us. Or do we?

Think about that pillar of fire and smoke…it was a GPS for sure…but it was more importantly a sign that God was with them…He did not abandon them. Even though He may have been frustrated with their lack of faith, He did not leave. We have to remind ourselves of that too. God hasn’t left if we feel like we are in the desert. He’s still here.

So maybe we just need to stop. Stop all the noise in our heads and be still. Pray. Listen. Read. Worship. Seek God with all our hearts and trust Him. Be excited and hopeful for what is beyond the desert. Do not allow yourself to stay stuck. Fully rely on God to lead you through. As miraculous as that GPS pillar was for the Israelites…know that God still performs miracles today.

He’s here – seek Him. (insert heart emoji).

You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2

 


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