For those of you who like a good morning run or walk in the dark before the sun comes up, you know sometimes those strides can be treacherous. With no sunlight to illuminate your path, you have to be extra careful about where you step. If not, you might trip over a branch or roll your ankle on an unseen stone on the path.
When it’s dark, you simply have to trust your stride and that each landing of your foot will be true. Put simply, it takes a lot more faith to walk in the dark than it does in the light.
That is why light is so valuable. It provides the ability to notice all the obstacles in your path. You can clearly see what is ahead and make your strides compensate for the dangers. It’s much easier to run or walk safely in the light and have the faith that things will be OK.
The Old Testament explains how the ancient Israelites were called to trust in God and have faith in his plan just like us today. They had a path set before them that they were to follow. But there is one big difference between the faith they exercised and the faith we display today.
Faith in Ancient Israel – A Walk in the Dark
We tend to come down hard on the people of Israel. All it seems they did was complain from one situation and one leader to another. There was no satisfying them, as Moses and other leaders found out.
But if we could put ourselves in their sandals for a moment, we may be a bit more understanding. True enough, they were literally led by God in the appearance of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They saw miracles happen before their very eyes. There could be no doubt God was responsible for the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea and the food and water supplied in the wilderness. They should have trusted him in every moment.
However, there is one big challenge in their call to trust. They didn’t know the final outcome would happen. They were being asked to trust in an unseen future event – that one day a Messiah would come to rule them.
God didn’t share when it would happen. He had fulfilled many promises to them already. But would he follow through on this big one?
In this regard, life was pretty much a walk in the dark for them, not really knowing when the promises would be fulfilled. They had no assurance from God that it would happen in their lifetime (which it didn’t). That must have been hard to live with on a daily basis. We would probably have grumbled a time or two ourselves, wondering what God was up to.
The best they could do was point to how God had not failed them in the past and then project that experience and knowledge about him into the future hope he promised.
We have a much different perspective today.
Our Trusting Advantage
Today, we have an advantage the Israelites did not have. Our advantage is that we know full well the final outcome of what they were hoping for. That’s because we have something at our disposal that they did not. We have the completed text of the Bible. What were future events for them that they could not see, we read about as past events for us that are finished.
The Bible tells us the full story. It gives us the specific details of how Jesus – the long-awaited Messiah did eventually come. He fulfilled all that the Old Testament prophets said that he would, ultimately dying on the cross for the sins of all mankind.
We can see with better perspective that God did indeed fulfill the promises he gave to the Israelites. He didn’t fail them. He was true to his word.
They weren’t sure he would follow through. We know he did.
In that way, we do not walk in the dark as they did. We have more light. The path is clearer for us. We know more about how things turned out. We can relate more to verses like Psalms 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.” When the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness, those words hadn’t been written yet.
So that should make it easier to trust God today, right?
Trusting in God Today
You would think with the full Bible at our disposal, believers today would find it easier to trust God. We can clearly read how God never failed his people and followed through on what he promised. He cared about them and didn’t let them down. That should be enough for us to always put our trust in God.
Yet, that is not the case. Trusting in God today seems to be as difficult for us as it was for the Israelites.
Just like them, we know our past. We know how God has worked in it. We see what he has done for us.
But similarly, just like them, our future is unsure to us. We do have the future hope of heaven that has been promised to believers. But again, that is something we have to wait for. We don’t know when it’s coming. And that is difficult sometimes in a world of so much pain and uncertainty.
So, just like they did, when it comes to living our daily lives, we place our trust in things other than God. We put our trust in friendships, in our wealth, in our own talents and abilities or in worldly leaders. In the moment, these things seem to bring more surety and concreteness to us than some distant promise.
It’s ironic because, just like when Israel put their trust in other things, our sources of trust always let us down. No matter how much we might try to gain satisfaction or security in them, we will always end up being disappointed in the end. They do not fulfill us in the ways that God can.
So, what are we to draw from this? Is God enough for us? Can we be assured that he is the proper person in whom to put our trust?
Jeremiah 17:7-8 is a verse that those who have a difficult time trusting in God should memorize. It offers amazing imagery to what one who puts his or her trust in God will be like. It reads,
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be life a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
So if you want to grow, if you want to produce and if you do not want to fear what lies ahead, put your trust in God. He is our living water from whom we can draw strength.
Leave a Comment or Answer a Question Below: Do you sometimes feel like life is a walk in the dark? Why do you think it is so hard for us to trust God today, even though we have the completed text of the Bible to draw from? What stands out to you about the imagery of the tree in Jeremiah 17? Was there ever a time where you took matters into your own hands instead of trusting in God for the outcome? If so, what happened?