"The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the LORD your God, who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go."
(Deuteronomy 1:30-33 ESV)
In this great book, Moses recounts Israel's experience in the wilderness, and gives another reading of the Law, to those who were preparing to go into the Promised Land. Here, in this passage, he provides a reminder of how the last generation failed to trust the Lord when it had been their turn to enter. God would have led them into the land, as a man carries his own son. He furthers his point by stating how God proved His faithfulness in their past by keeping His people safe on their desert journeys, as He sought out new places for them to camp. God would "go before" them by fire at night and cloud by day. He was always clearing a path and serving as their eyes, scouting and charting their course. When the time came to trust in His power, by faith, to remove the larger and stronger nations from the land He had promised them, the people wilted in fear, forgetting Who is was that protected them. Two applications come to mind from this passage- (1) God will carry me home safely and deliver to me what He has promised in Christ Jesus. Would-be giants and would-be fortified cities lie in wait as I approach, but my focus cannot be mainly on them. Yes, I could allow fear and anxiety to overtake me. Even now, matters that some day will seem small, appear large. But my God is bigger. He is faithful and trustworthy. I will follow Him wherever His fire and cloud lead, and He will serve as my strength on this winding journey. (2) As I think about the stages in life that my children are currently in, I hope that their early years develop in them, a trust, by God's grace, in their Heavenly Father, but also in those whom He has entrusted them to for a time- their earthly parents. Not just that we would care for them physically, but that they will trust us for wisdom and guidance in more difficult days ahead- when they discover giants and fortified cities outside of their home camp. These early years are the days of manna and water from the rock, but the time will come when they must decide if God will truly carry them into the land, like He has said (and hopefully we have confirmed in word and by action), or if sight seems more practical to them than faith. I do hope that they see, in us, people who live what we speak (and vice-versa), and that they can come to us for wisdom, in the way they should go. Valuable years. Eternal impact. God grant us mercy and grace!