Today is the day of Michelle’s Medical Residency Match. In short, we find out in a few hours where we will spend at least the next three to four years. We are excited, hopeful, and ready to see the specific place and program God has placed us. This is a big moment in our life. We have strong desires toward a specific program and place….. and even sense God’s leadership…. but the ultimate decision is not ours to make. It is His. Have you ever been in a season or moment of life like this? Have you ever needed direction for a decision or a life season and yet felt you did not have control?
God brought me to a specific Scripture passage this morning that has been a great reminder and encouragement to me …. specifically of God’s faithfulness in leadership of our lives. God has been so faithful to this point and we are so excited about His future.
15 On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day[a] and the appearance of fire by night. 17 And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. 18 At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the Lord they remained in camp; then according to the command of the Lord they set out. 21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. 23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses.
A couple of things encourage and challenge me from this passage:
- God is so faithful! (vv. 15-16) For every single turn, every single decision, every single next step that we will ever need to make…… He has promised to lead us! God gave His people the cloud by day and fire by night covering the temple…..this was a physical, visible reminder of His very presence with them! He gave these to lead them, guide them, comfort them, protect them, and remind them of His commitment to them and faithfulness to be with them. Today, God tells us that He makes His dwelling within us! We are His temple and His Spirit is present within us (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Our spirits cry out with the Holy Spirit- “Daddy! Father!” (Romans 8:15-17) testifying to our adoption as God’s children. We can sense God’s presence within us just as the people saw His presence above the temple…. and we can know that God is faithful! He is with us, His love is toward us, His commitments are for us, He will lead us according to His perfect foreknowledge and plan, and He will never leave us or forsake us. What a faithful God! As we await His leadership for new seasons, we can rest our hope on the bedrock of God’s faithfulness!
- We should always be watchful for His leadership. (vv. 17-22) The people of Israel were constantly watchful for the leadership of God that was evident from keeping attentive to the presence of God. If you notice, as the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness, God did not give them a 40-year-roadmap for their entire journey ahead. And, there was really not set pattern to His leadership. Sometimes God would have them stay for months. Sometimes He would have them stay for one day. The people could not rest on their own understanding or try to take control of the situation using a detailed advance plan. Rather, they had to depend on the Lord. Day by day, moment by moment, they had to fix their eyes of the Lord’s presence. Only then could they discern how He was leading and where they should go. This is why Proverbs 3:5-8 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” As we face new seasons and decisions on the future, our role is not to try to take to take control or figure things out in our own planning. Rather, we are to keep our heart happy in God and our eyes fixed on Jesus. Only then will we know His leadership. And, only then will we have happiness and peace. See Psalm 37:4 and Philippians 4:4-7.
- We should obey His leading. (v. 23) No matter how God led….. the people followed. They obeyed….always. It did not matter if they felt it was a good idea. It did not matter if they thought God had a good plan. It did not matter if they liked the place they were in enough to stay longer. Their role was not to argue with God or try to figure it out on their own. Their role was to follow God’s leading. Their role was to trust that God knew best. Their role was to surrender and entrust themselves to their sovereign, omniscient, faithful God. We should do the same. In seasons of waiting on God’s leadership, we should be ready to obey. We should decide before we get specific word and direction from God that no matter what He says and how He leads…. we will follow Him and worship Him. Our allegiance in not to ourselves or our circumstances but to God. May He alone have control of our allegiance and devotion!
As we await word of today’s Medical Residency Match decision, we are entrusting ourselves once again to a faithful God who cannot fail and, by His awesome grace, has committed His faithfulness and provision for us… now and forever. In times of uncertainty or waiting on God’s leadership and provision…. we encourage you to do the same. Keep your eyes fixed and heart satisfied in our wonderful, faithful Savior.
Psalm 23:3, 6 -“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. … Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”