The account of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt is a beautiful revelation of God to the world through a specific group of people. God shows himself to be true to his word and completely reliable in providing everything the people needed. Were they always happy with the provision? No. The manna tasted bland after awhile; they remembered the fruit, vegetables and fresh fish in Egypt. They wanted variety; they wanted meat.
Food was not the only thing God provided for them. He provided guidance — his presence. The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night were evidence of God’s presence with them. It was this Presence that led them through the desert and found them places to camp. When the cloud moved, they moved. When it rested, they rested.
21The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. 22And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.Exodus 13:21-22
36Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. 37But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted.Exodus 40:36-37
It is no secret that Moses struggled with confidence in leading this large group of people to the Promise Land. Read again the first several chapters of Exodus to refresh your memory regarding Moses’ struggle with God’s ask to lead the people. His trust issue is highlighted again when he invites his relative to take the place of the cloud as their guide through the wilderness.
29One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!” 30But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.” 31“Please don’t leave us,” Moses pleaded. “You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide. 32If you do, we’ll share with you all the blessings the Lord gives us.” 33They marched for three days after leaving the mountain of the Lord, with the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant moving ahead of them to show them where to stop and rest.Numbers 10:29-33
I understand Moses’ angst. There are times when I trust the Lord, but I sure would like someone with skin on to be with me. There is no evidence that Moses’ brother-in-law went with them, but there is evidence that the Lord continued to guide the people.
What about you? Are you in a place where the Lord is asking you to trust him? Yet there is a part of you that needs more assurance? Are you looking for something or someone to take His place?
Perhaps this declaration from Psalm 91 will help to set you in the right direction again.
2This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.Psalm 91:2