Day 9

Guidance by the Cloud

from the reading plan

Numbers 9:15-23, Numbers 10:1-36, Exodus 13:17-22, Psalm 78:14

Follow-the-leader is an easy enough game to play when you are a little child. Your sole objective is to mimic the leader’s movements. With hyper-focused attention and a bit of nervous-giddy energy, you do as the leader does, and that’s how you win the game.

We get older, and sadly, following the leader becomes a little less straightforward and a lot harder to commit to—especially in our faith. Our objective to follow the leader of our lives—Jesus—wholeheartedly becomes muddied by mixed motives and hidden agendas. Our focus on the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives is replaced by a myriad of distractions and an almost constant state of busyness. We begin to question whether or not imitating Jesus is the best use of our energy and time. Often, we find ourselves wanting to be the leader in our own lives, moving at our own pace and in the direction that seems most pleasurable and desirable to us.

After the Israelites were rescued from Egypt, they were faced with a new challenge as God’s chosen people. Would they follow the leader? Now that they were liberated from slavery, would they willingly follow the Lord’s guidance? Or would they go where they wanted to and move at their own preferred pace?

The Lord led His people through the wilderness as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they stayed put and camped out. When the cloud moved, they, too, moved. The cloud was never behind them but always before them (Numbers 9:15–23). They followed the leader, and He was with them.

It may not be a cloud leading us, but we, too, are faced with a similar challenge. Will we submit to the Lord’s direction and timing in our lives? Will we place Him ever before us—looking to the Holy Spirit as the navigator of our course and seeking His will above our own?

Today, through Jesus’s resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are no longer reliant on a physical cloud for guidance from the Lord. Rather, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence is with us always. He leads and directs us through His Word, through Jesus (the Word made flesh), and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

Today, may you humbly submit to the Lord’s guidance in your life. May you actively seek Him above all else. May you praise Him for being a God who is with you, who never leaves you, and who makes a straight path for you. May you trust your today and your tomorrow to a God who is eager to lovingly guide you and provide for you.

Written by Nicole Smithee

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