“Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the road which they should travel” (Nehemiah 9:12).
IF WHAT WE REALLY WANT TO DO IS FOLLOW GOD, HIS ASSURANCE TO US IS THAT WE’LL ALWAYS GET THE INFORMATION WE NEED TO DO HIS WILL. Many things we may not understand, but there will always be sufficient light on the road to guide our next step, if our motive is to obey our Father’s will.
Jesus pointed to the importance of motive when He said to certain ones, “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8:43,44). Whose desires we most deeply want to do is the crucial factor that determines whether we’ll understand the things we need to understand. And it takes a person of more honesty than many of us have mustered to tell the truth about whose will means more to us: God’s or someone else’s.
How much obedience really matters to us is indicated by the use we’ve made of the light that has already shone upon our path. Does the day-to-day evidence of our decisions show that we’re thankful for this light? If not, there’s little point in seeking further light. As long as our conscience smites us for not doing the duty that lies clearly before us, we don’t have the luxury of worrying about the various hypothetical questions that cloud the future.
Biblical faith is much more than a simple trust that God’s light will lead us. It’s an active following of that light step by step. We certainly should rest in the confidence that the road will be illuminated according to our needs, but there’s also a need for sobriety. God is a rewarder of “those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6), and we show that we’re diligent seekers by actually taking the steps He has shown us. The path toward God will challenge our willingness to obey perhaps more often than it does our ability to understand. In any case, our choice must be to move forward. God will not allow darkness to hinder the diligent.
“God wills us to tread the hidden paths of grace in faith only; and so he only gives us just such light as we need for the present moment. It is not his will that we should see before us or around us, but he never fails to grant such light as makes it impossible for us to lose our way so long as we follow his leading” (Jean Nicolas Grou).