Your path is dark. Your hope is almost gone. You look ahead and see only blackness. You struggle with making the right choices. You consider giving up. It’s not easy. Is this all you have to look forward to? Is the life of a Christian a bleak, dark walk through a world of despair never knowing the right way to go?
Ex 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
In this text, Moses was not the one who chose when it was time for Israel to depart from Egypt. In the same way that Moses believed he would be the deliverer of Israel when he was a young man, but God disagreed, and Moses thought God would deliver Israel quickly, and He did not, so now God proves His time is right.
When God leads Israel out of Egypt, they don’t go any direction they desire. Moses didn’t sit down with a map and plot a course. Israel did not vote on an acceptable route and then travel down it. Instead, God presented a pillar of clouds in the sky by day and a pillar of fire by night. Moses and Israel moved by following God’s manifestation of His presence wherever He went.
Jeshua, the High Priest in Nehemiah’s day, declared to the people concerning God’s actions, “You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, Against all his servants, And against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself, as it is this day… Moreover, You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, And by night with a pillar of fire, To give them light on the road Which they should travel.” (Nehemiah 9:10, 12).
Centuries after Israel came out of Egypt, Solomon encouraged his son with these words: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.”
Jeremiah cries out to the Lord and declares, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. O LORD, correct me, but with justice; Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing. Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You, And on the families who do not call on Your name; For they have eaten up Jacob, Devoured him and consumed him, And made his dwelling place desolate” (Jeremiah 10:23-25).
All these passages teach a single and clear lesson from the Old Testament which is still true today. We should not rely upon our own wisdom to determine our path. If you are a faithful Christian, are you one who seeks God’s chosen path for you?
We will not determine God’s chosen path for us by voting on a path. We will not resolve the chosen path by reading man’s wisdom. We will not determine the right path for our feet when we select the most natural path in life. Israel’s path led them to the Red Sea and a guaranteed defeat at the hand of Pharoah’s armies. When you see God’s chosen path for you and you realize that it means a sure defeat for you – will you turn back, will you give up? Let us continue, trusting in the Lord with all our heart and never leaning on our own understanding.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)