Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God's Leading




Scripture

Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning.
(Numbers 9:15 NASB)
So it was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
(Numbers 9:16 NASB)
Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp.
(Numbers 9:17 NASB)
At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORDS charge, according to the command of the LORD through Moses.
(Numbers 9:23 NASB)
And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,
(Acts 28:30 NASB)
preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
(Acts 28:31 NASB)

Observation

For the children of Israel there was no doubt that God was leading them, physically, every day of their lives. As they journeyed through the wilderness God was with them. Everyone in the camp could see where God was. During the day he was in the cloud which was over the tabernacle. At night, he was in the fire. Whenever God moved, they moved. He never, ever, left their presence and there was no doubt as to where they were supposed to be every day, nor was there a question as to when it was time to move on. It was abundantly clear.

Paul knew where to go and how to move on. In Acts we find the details of the final stages of his journey. He had traveled for years from city to city telling people the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul clearly knew where to God for he was also following God's presence. God's presence went with him on his missionary journeys, and now, also on his final journey. From a human perspective this final journey may have seemed a bit crazy. Paul was being sent to Rome, but many rulers back in Israel really did not think it was necessary. Why had Paul appealed to Caesar? He could have been set free? Because Paul knew that was part of the journey! He was to follow God and he knew that meant going to Rome. Even as Paul settled down into his rented home, in chains, God's presence was with him. Paul didn't complain about his circumstances, for he believed that God had orchestrated them. Therefore he used his circumstances to tell even more people about God!

Application

How often do I hear people say that they wish they knew God's will for their lives. They wish they knew what decisions to make -- where to go, or what to do! Those decisions become easier when we practice the presence of the Lord. I don't believe that God's presence is gone from his people, but rather, that his people are blind to his presence. God doesn't come in a cloud or in fire anymore. Why? Because he sent his Holy Spirit. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore the Spirit was in him and Paul could follow the leading of the Spirit, day in and day out. Too many of us are still looking up and waiting for the cloud or the fire when what we need to do is invite the Spirit to come and live in us. Then, we must be quiet and practice the presence of the Spirit on a daily basis. As we listen to him and his gentle leading and guidance he will show us the way to go, each and every single day. God has a future for us. There is a plan for all of humanity and he is drawing us into his future, if only we would listen.

God is still leading today in ways just as real as he led the Israelites. The problem isn't God -- it's us. We must open our eyes and daily step into his holy presence so that we may go forward with his leading.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your peace and presence this day. May I be sensitive to your leading in all things including the divine appointments you may have in mind today. Amen.

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