Tuesday, May 2, 2023

           We know from reading the Old Testament that Israel roamed in the wilderness for a long time after leaving Egypt and before entering the land that God promised them.  It was a forty-year long time of wandering.  That would be like starting something in 1983 and just now finishing it.  But while they were in the wilderness, they were never alone.  God had not forgotten about them or abandoned them.  God had not chosen to play tricks with them or some sort of monumental game of hide-and-seek.  Numbers 9:15-16 tells us that God gave guidance to the people.  The Bible says, “On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning, the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire.”  A cloud and fire.  These simple, natural objects represented enduring divine guidance to the people of Israel.  Even today, God does not leave us without guidance and the promise of His presence with us in life.  We have these blessings even when our situations or circumstances might suggest or persuade us to doubt Him and think otherwise.
            God guides us today with His Word.  It is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.  It does not change like the weather.  God’s Word is available to us—often much more available than we are inclined to open it and read it.  Many Bibles sit idly on shelves and in closets gathering dust from an owner’s lack of interest or willingness to read them.  Those troubling or confusing moments we face in life can often be confronted by the promises, commands and guidance we find in the Bible.  God’s Word speaks as clearly and as relevantly today as it ever has. 
            When we pray, we experience the guidance of God.  He can speak to us, nudge us and lead us in ways that are good and right.  God will always lead us in concert with His Word.  He is not the god of confusion.  He is the God of clarity and correction.  God can bring peace to anxious minds through prayer.  God can comfort hurting hearts when we place ourselves humbly and wholly before Him.  God can grant to us the sweetness of forgiveness and the relief of His grace and pardon.  Prayer is one way we can rest in Him.
            Worship is yet another way that God guides His people.  As we give glory to God in worship, we find that we are satisfied and filled with His presence and goodness.  He brings fulfillment and grace to us in comforting ways.  As we express our praise and thankfulness to God for battles that have been won, He gives us reassurance that He is with us always—even to the end of the age.  Part of our worship, individually and collectively, is coming to the Lord for guidance.  We recognize that He alone possesses perfect vision and wisdom into all things.
            Occasionally, God can guide us through the words, wisdom and witness of other believers.  You may have Christian friends or family members you turn to often for counsel, help and practical guidance.  God can give us leadership and help through the lives of others.  Near the end of Romans, in chapter sixteen, Paul gave a lengthy list of the names of fellow believers who had blessed and encouraged him.  He certainly saw that God offered guidance through the names of these many brothers and sisters.  Anyone you can trust for guidance will certainly only want your good and God’s glory to prevail in any situation. 
            Israel came to see the cloud and fire as symbols of God’s guidance to and for them.  The people moved when the cloud moved and camped or stayed put when the cloud held in one place.  God’s guidance often leads us to move along or to stay in one place.  And we can experience that guidance in some of the ways we have named today.  Have a great Tuesday!  Remember to join us on Wednesday evening, in our sanctuary from 7:00-9:00pm as we pray with the Korean prayer intercessors and other believers in our community.  It could be a life-changing moment for you!  Remember you can always find our worship at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  

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