Devotional Thoughts for Today
Exodus 13:20-22 (NIV)
After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Have you ever been on a very long road trip? At certain points, you begin to wonder not only how long it will take to arrive at your destination, but whether you’re still on the correct highway. So, thank God that the United States Interstate Highway System has posted signs to inform the traveler of not only the distance remaining, but a reminder that you are indeed on the right highway.
This makes us wonder: Without such signs posted in the desert for Israelites, how would they figure out if they were on the right path towards the promised land (Canaan) or not?
Yesterday, we learned that sometimes God takes us on a longer journey in fulfilling His promises. In our path towards spiritual maturity, it’s common for many of us to grow impatient; in fact, we can even become restless or discouraged as doubts crept into our hearts. We wonder if God has forgotten His promises to help us grow. We begin to think that perhaps it’s totally up to us to figure out how to arrive at our destination. But rest assured that God knows that we will need “signs” or encouragements along the way so that we won’t give up. He will, therefore, remind His people that He is present and that He will provide both protection and guidance.
We see this clearly in the way the Lord led and guided the Israelites. Of course, as they headed south after leaving Egypt, in the opposite direction of Canaan, the Israelites had no idea where they were headed. Neither did they know that God’s plan was for them to avoid conflicts with surrounding groups they could not handle. In the midst of all this, God gave them a tangible sign of His presence: a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; it would provide shelter by day, and warmth and light by night. But more than practical purposes, it was God’s way of reminding His people that they were on the right path towards their final destination.
As you faithfully follow His word and His purposes, you too are on a long journey. At times, you may feel as though you are lost or that God may have forgotten about you. Yes, He has given us the Holy Spirit to live in us and that should suffice; nevertheless, at times, we, being frail humans, need something more tangible. In those moments, ask the Lord for encouraging “signs” to remind you that you are on the right path, and that He is with you always to the end of the age. It may come from your daily scriptural reading or seemingly random comments by a friend or a sudden recalling of past events—whichever way, the Lord will remind you.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that You are always with me. I ask for encouraging “signs” along the way to help me remain confident in Your leading and guidance. In Your name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 12
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 13:5-6: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Questions to Consider
- Why is there a correlation between love of money and the knowledge of God’s eternal presence in our lives?
- Verse 6 is a quote from Psalm 118:6. Turn to Psalm 118:5 and see the context of the original verse.
- When was the last time you felt the magnitude of this verse, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”? Do you need a reminder of this awesome promise of God?
- In the Sermon on the Mt., Jesus tells the listeners to live a life free of worries because the Father in Heaven knows the needs of His people. Loving money and losing sight of contentment results when one loses sight of the Father’s providence.
- The passage is a declaration of a psalmist who was “hard pressed.”
- Personal response.
If you journal, look back through some of your previous entries and be reminded of God’s signs that He’s been providing along the way towards maturity.