I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (1 Corinthians 10:1-2, ESV)
The Israelites walked out of Egypt behind a giant cloud, which would lead them during the day. It seems to have shaded them from the sun and later blinded Pharaoh and his armies to where the Hebrews were going. God also made a way for them that passed through the sea, and they were able to cross on dry land while their enemies were swept away. All this, and still, most of those Israelites never saw the land God promised them. It makes no sense to me, but it’s true. Why?
When God rescues us from slavery to sin, as He rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He invites us to put aside what we want and follow Him. And three decisions present themselves to us—just as to the Israelites—over and over. First, will we be cloud-watchers and let God lead us, even if it looks like we’re walking into a dead end? Second, will we stop trusting ourselves and let God protect us from evil, even if our enemies seem assured of victory? Finally, will we walk the path God that provides, even if it makes little sense? These critical decisions—allowing God to be director, protector, and provider (provide means to “see ahead”)—make fruitful life possible.
When all is said and done, we choose life in Canaan or death in the desert. And we do it by making—or refusing to make—these decisions every day. Following him costs something, sure, but not following him can be just as costly.
This thought came from last year’s devotional; I hope you don’t mind me trotting it out again, since it’s no less true now than it was then.