How to Go Through This world Successfully
by Daniel Yahav
Have you ever been in a situation where you ask yourself, 'What is God's will for my life?' 'What am I to do?'
I'd like us to look at the guidance we receive from our Heavenly Father. Guidance that is so important in these days, as things will become increasingly difficult in the future. We see all the turmoil in the world today, everything in our lives is changing, our whole routine of life has altered with the Coronavirus situation and limitations. There is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen regarding our financial income, gathering as congregations, meeting as family and friends, celebrating the holidays – many things we have been used to are changing rapidly and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight in the near future.
Situations like this, cause us to turn our eyes heavenward and look to the Lord. This is a good thing and it is what we need to do. In fact it is one of the goals and purposes of this time - to awaken us to look up to heaven and get our priorities right. As we celebrate the feast of booths, which reminds us every year again and again of God's provision and care for His people in the wilderness, let us go back to that story because there is so much we can learn from it. The story of the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt is a picture of the life journey that each one of us goes through.
In Romans 6, we read that whoever sins is a slave to sin. The people of Israel were slaves to Egypt, and we were slaves to sin before we repented and gave our lives to God. And after the Exodus, we read: "and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea' (1 Cor10:2) . We too are baptized by water and the Spirit. (There is also a baptism of fire, but that is a topic for another time.) So, we have this comparison between the Exodus story and our own lives.
Jumping forward to Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, our lives are again compared to their lives with a warning not to miss out as they did. They had enough faith to leave Egypt, but they did not have enough faith to enter the land of Canaan. This also applies to us. We have faith to accept Yeshua and to say to God 'I give You my life, I will follow You' - and we begin this new journey of life. But do we have enough faith to continue and finish the journey, all the way to the end? Do we have faith to start off right and persevere in order to finish victoriously? This is a challenge and a calling for each one of us, not to miss it, but to enter our eternal rest in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The people of Israel had an advantage when they were walking in the desert. They had an enormous pillar that walked before them, and not only led them, but also covered them. It says in the Psalms that God covered them with a cloud, which protected them from the hot sun and gave them shade in the heat of the desert. God cared for His people. 'He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to illumine by night.' (Psalm 105:39)
This cloud showed them the way during the day and illuminated their path when it was dark, so that they could walk both by day and by night. What is the parallel in our lives? In the letter of Hebrews, which talks so much about what happened there in the desert, we find the idea of the pillar of cloud in chapter 12 where it talks about a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us and the context here is that we need to run the race with patience and endurance, just as they had to follow the cloud until they finally entered the land of Canaan. The cloud of witnesses refers to the life-stories of all the heroes of the faith which appear in chapter 11. Their full stories are found in the Word of God. So if we want to follow the example of these witnesses and especially of Yeshua our teacher, we need to turn to the written Word of God.
Then there is also the pillar of fire by night. If the pillar of cloud is a picture of the written Word of God, then the pillar of fire is a picture of the Holy Spirit. We read in Acts chapter 2 that the Holy Spirit descended on the 120 disciples as tongues of fire: 'When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' (Acts 2:1-4)
So, we have the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire - the written Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Both of these are intrinsically connected. Just as the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire were the same pillar – cloud by day and fire by night - so the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are interconnected, inseparable. This is confirmed in 2 Timothy: 'All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.' (2 Tim 2:16-17).
And just as the pillar of cloud and fire guided the people of Israel on their journey to the land of Canaan, so the Word of God, combined with the Holy Spirit, lead us on our life journey through the wilderness of this world. The Pillar of cloud led them during the day, when there was light and they could see the way but they still needed direction to know which way to go. The pillar of Fire led them at night, when it is dark and you often cannot see even the next step without a torch. So the written word of God gives us the general direction, and a lot of guidance on many life issues, but when we come to a place of darkness, where we wander what is the right path to take, and we are in need of a specific guidance from the Lord, the Holy Spirit is the one to direct us. Since the Holy Spirit is the author of all the Scriptures, only He can illuminate the written word for us and help us understand how to apply the Word correctly in every situation. 'But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men, moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.' (2 Peter 1:20-21) . Unfortunately, so many wrong teachings circulate in the world today and confuse many, because they are the fruit of someone's own self interpretation, and not from the Holy Spirit of God
We see again In John 14 the relationship between the Word of God and the Holy Spirit: ''But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.' (John 14:26). This is the written Word of God and the Holy Spirit working together. It is the Holy Spirit who shines onto the Word of God and explains it to us. Sometimes it can seem like a lot of information that is difficult to understand and we don't know how to apply to our lives, but the Holy Spirit brings light, opening up our understanding, teaching us how and what to apply. He will guide us step by step, to shine on our path and light our way, reminding us of the scriptures that are relevant exactly to our situation, encouraging, warning, correcting and reproving us. 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.' (Psalm 119:105)
If we have the soft and humble hearts and willing spiritual ears to hear, we will receive His direction and instruction for our lives. Therefore, we see how important it is that we read and know God's written word, and together with it ask for the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. These two combined, working together, will lead us safely through the way of life, to the heavenly promised land, and keep us from being misled by lies of this world or by any wind of doctrine, no matter how "spiritual" it may seem, that will try to deceive us from the narrow path leading to eternal life.