“Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey” Numbers 9:22
It would be a rare person who had no interest in what lay ahead in their lives. It would be so rare that we might consider that person not sound of mind. Historically people have tried and tested many methods of discovering their future for both short term and long term. Our daily papers and other media pamper to this desire in people. Even though they all fail the test of 100% accuracy many people still turn to them in a vain attempt to quieten their anxiety. The opposite seems to be the case. They become more anxious.
God says to us through the Apostle Paul, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). The fact is that we can either remain anxious or pray and trust the Lord.
The Lord told Abraham what He was about to do in Sodom (Genesis 18:17, 18) because he was His friend (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23). The Lord tells believers future events for their comfort (1 Thessalonians 4:18) and not be anxious. This is one of the reasons God has told us things before they happen. He also tells us things ahead so that we can discern that it is truly Him speaking (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). The test of a true prophet of God given in this passage is 100% accuracy. All other future tellers are false.
A new generation of Israel that did not know slavery in Egypt was growing and, like all of us, had a tendency to be anxious about the future. This generation had not seen the signs and miracles in Egypt or the Red Sea crossing but they would have to learn to trust and obey the Lord. People will only voluntarily obey one whom they trust. To build this trust and obedience the Lord led Israel through the wilderness areas for forty years. They did not know from day to day whether they would remain camped or be on the move. What they learned through this was trust and obedience. They were warned to stay away from others who claimed to tell the future because that would have destroyed their trust in the Lord and their obedience to Him. This did happen in later generations in varying degrees.
We can either trust Him or be anxious. We can either come to Him in prayer or go to the soothsayers of our day. Which we do will decide our enjoyment in life. The one who trusts the Lord will find great joy, peace and pleasure in obeying Him and they will love life. If that is true of us then we should expect that our faces will reflect that.
Each evening when we go to bed thank the Lord for His gracious leading and presence for that day and in the morning wake up expectantly for His gift of a new day. We may think we know what is going to happen today but in reality we only have plans that can be changed or destroyed in a moment. The Lord knows every detail ahead and if we believe Him to be trustworthy then we will trust Him and enjoy the journey no matter what surprises enter our day.
Israel was essentially forced to obey. Where the pillar of cloud or fire was, that was where the manna would be next morning. Each individual’s enjoyment of the night and day was dependent upon their level of trust in the Lord. It is the same for us.