If He Led You There, He Will Lead You Out! (Part 2)
When I read the account of God’s amazing grace and deliverance in redemptive history and see how the Israelites behaved in rebellion against God consistently, it makes me wonder. Not just how we as humans have such capacity to be ungrateful, complain, doubt, rebel and sin against God in spite of overwhelming and tangible evidence of his love, power, provision, protection, and salvation. But much more, I now see a God who is so loving, so kind, so merciful, that our wickedness will never change His nature. That is what drives me to my knees. That is what makes me worship: ‘Oh God, I am in awe of you. Thank you for the cross.’
Israel won a great victory against Pharaoh’s formidable army without lifting a finger to fight (Exodus 14). They rejoiced and praised God, promising to always put their trust in Him (Exodus 14-15:1-21). That didn’t last. Soon after, they came to Marah. They were thirsty, but the water there was bitter and they complained. God made the water fit to drink (Exodus 15:22-27). How can they see such routing of their enemies, without any human effort and still not trust that God will provide? Constantly, the Israelites grumbled and complained anytime they were in difficulty. Again and again, God showed up to help them. This continued for 40 years.
Before they crossed the Jordan to enter the promise land, Moses reminded them of God’s great love and care for them. He said “The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” (Deut. 1:30-33).
“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.” (Deut. 2:7). The pillar of cloud and fire was a physical sign of God’s presence with them. When the pillar moved, it was time to break camp and when the pillar stopped it was time to camp. So if God led them to camp in Marah where the water was bitter, did God not know the water was bitter? Of course He did. He led them there.
We often behave like the Israelites. When we are in difficulty, we forget the victories God won on our behalf in times past. We panic and fret over our current situation and fail to see our God, who is Lord over all situations. If the Lord is our shepherd, we should trust Him in any situation we are in. If He led us there, He will lead us out. The challenge we have sometimes is that we refuse His leading, so we lead ourselves. We find ourselves in situations He has not led us to. When this happens what do we do? Here is what He says, “and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honour me.” Psalms 50:15.
God is only a call away. A lifetime of intimate relationship with God is more profitable for us, than - a haphazard, non-committal, 'when I find myself in a rut' type of relationship that many of us have with Him. That is not how He wants to shepherd us. There is a better way. It is "draw near to God, and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).