Saturday, January 1, 2011

Just in case you change your mind

Have you ever found yourself afraid of what's up ahead? In fear we just stop. We are afraid to move forward and we sure don't want to go back. The Israelites felt this way as they were in the desert on their sojourn to freedom.

Exodus 13: 17-21 shows us much about God's love for His children. He doesn't just show us the way and leave us on our own to get there. He leads and surrounds us with His presence. See, the Israelites were leaving Egypt. The Pharaoh has released them (or so they thought). They were on their way to the land of milk and honey, but the journey there was a hard one. The road that was most traveled might have lead them straight into battle. The Egyptians could recapture them at any point and make them stand for battle in their own defenses. The Israelites would have been put in positions for war without any preparation. Surely, this would have led to their demise.

But God had a better way. He took them along a different route. Although they thought this journey long and hard, God was protecting them. They didn't understand just much harder it could have been. So, in faith, they follow.

I love verses 21-22 "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of ire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people." He was making a way a for them.

Even though they had believed, turned away, believed, and turned away, God was still in their lives. He wasn't going anywhere. He was ever present even when they doubted. They struggled in their faith, but He never wavered wanting what was best for His children. He blessed and He chastised in love. Through their willingness to follow, He continued to bless. He is the Light of our lives. He is that strong presence we feel in our walk when we are confused or the road ahead just becomes too much. It is His hand that we feel as we make it up the hill and His hand that we feel so we don't go tumbling down too fast.

So, why the pillars? If He was the cloud to lead in day and the fire to lead at night, they were concentrating upon Him, not their fears. When they kept their eyes focused on Him there was nothing that could take their attention away. Is it really that simple? Can our lives really be that easy? Could that be why sun rises and sunsets are so breathtaking? Is it a reminder that God is near?  He will set our path to begin the day and light the night to wash away our fears.

I'm not saying we won't have bumps in the road and road blocks along our journey, but if we simply stay focused on Him there is nothing that can detour us from following our Savior home. He makes the journey safe when we are following His every command. He gives light to each step if we are willing to be obedient.

Before we set off for our journey, might we seek His map. Before we pack for the road, might we make sure we are prepared. By prepared I mean prayed up, armor on, battle ready and eyes focused on the mission ahead. He knows the destination He set before us. He has control of the GPS if we will only listen and not shut it off.  
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