And he said, Leave us not, I pray [you]; forasmuch as [you know] how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and [you may] be to us instead of eyes. – Numbers 10:31
The children of Israel had started out on their desert journey at God’s command. As they prepared their trek, Moses’ father-in-law stated that he would return to his people. Moses, however, urged his wife’s father to stay with Israel and share in the goodness that God would bestow upon Israel. In Moses’ thoughts, it was good for his wife’s dad to stay with them because he knew the desert well and could show them where they could encamp. Moses forgot for a short while Who was leading them across the desert.
God had told Moses when Israel first reached the Sinai desert that He would send an Angel before them and guide them. Moses, of all people, usually trusted in the Word of the LORD, but for some reason, he lost sight of Who led Israel. We know this because he enticed his father-in-law to stay with him and show him where Israel could camp in the desert.
The point is that we have to be cognizant of where we are and what we are doing at all times. It is easy in this life to lose sight of Who is in control and Who leads our lives. Moses may have only had a momentary lapse of reason, but it could have been very costly for Israel. Here was their leader asking a human to guide them through the desert, who had been raised and lived in it his entire life, rather than relying upon the LORD to guide them. Apparently, though, God didn’t take offense to this event because the Bible doesn’t speak of God’s fury raging against Moses for his action.
In fact, the following verses state that God led the people through the desert via the smoke cloud by day. They journeyed three days before the LORD settled again. We could say in hind sight that Moses was fortunate God overlooked the matter. I bring up this matter because several years into the future, Moses would do something similar, and it cost him entry into the Promised Land. Why this particular event was overlooked by God is beyond me, but Moses let his human side get the best of him in both situations.
Now it could have been a matter of Moses wanting his wife’s family to remain with them for the sake of family, which God would most likely have allowed because He desires mercy not sacrifice. Nevertheless, Moses made a risky move by asking Hobab to lead them across the Sinai desert rather than looking to God for everything. We had best learn from Moses’ life the value of being obedient to God. God is full of mercy. He would tell Moses at one point in the desert experience that He will be gracious to whom He’ll be gracious, and He’ll show mercy to whom He’ll show mercy. Moses definitely saw God’s grace and mercy in this event.
More importantly and closer to home, are you trusting God to lead you and guide you? Or, are you seeking the assistance of others? God tells us that His Spirit will teach us and guide us into all truth. If we allow ourselves to be led of the Spirit, we will walk in the Spirit and not fulfill our fleshly desires. There is a great benefit to those who live their lives by faith, and in so doing, walk by faith and not by sight. Just as Moses wanted to trust in Hobab’s knowledge to serve aseyes for Israel as they trekked through the wilderness, he’d been better off to put his trust only in the LORD, which he did most often.
Father, I must admit that through most of my life, I’ve wandered around as though I had blinders on over my eyes. I trusted in my knowledge, skills, and abilities and those of others to get through life. Most of that time was spent far away from You, the One who could have and would have led me through the wilderness of life to green pastures and still waters where I would’ve been content and lacking for nothing. Now that I’ve learned to walk in Your Spirit and to trust in You for everything, I no longer put stock in people to lead me and guide me. They are here to help me in various ways and help make life a bit easier, but You are the only One who can truly lead me to the narrow Gate that leads to the narrow Path that leads to Life. Thank You for directing me in that Way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.