Our study today comes from Exodus 13:17-22. Please read this section of Scripture.
Several miles from my former house sits a building with a sign that reads, “Leader Dogs for the Blind.” And while I’ve never been inside the building, I am confident this is a successful and beneficial program for those without sight. I know that the dogs that graduate from this program are the “cream of the crop.” In other words, these animals are bright, smart, able to follow simple commands, exceptionally obedient, and easy to train. We might ask, “Why does this program graduate only compliant dogs with remarkable abilities?” The answer? Because of the magnitude of their job—to guide the blind.
For the blind, these dogs not only become their friend and companion, but they are also a light in a dark world. As the two go everywhere together, the dog always remains just a few steps ahead. This trusted partner warns of impending danger and only leads when it is safe. The eyes of this dog can see things his owner cannot. Out of complete confidence, the owner keeps a tight grip and always stays close behind. The blind person dependent on their dog for sight would never venture out on their own.
With this visual in mind, what promise is given in Psalm 48:14?
Summarize Isaiah 58:11.
What types of needs does God meet, according to Philippians 4:19?
Our bodies are made up of three components: physical, emotional, and spiritual. While positioned in the wilderness, we can certainly be out of sorts in one or all three aspects.
What are your needs right now? For each category below, write one or two words describing your needs.
Each of our needs will be different because each desert and its surrounding atmosphere are unique. You may have written something like this:
Emotional— comfort, peace
Spiritual—purpose, place to serve.
Do you remember playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” when you were a child? The object of the game was to pin the donkey’s tail in the right spot, but only after being blindfolded and spun around a couple of times. With blinded eyes and being dizzy from twirling, the difficulty was not in just locating the donkey, but in also finding the exact spot for his tail. How different the scene would be though, if the blindfolded person had a guide—someone to take her hand, lead her in the right direction, and help her secure the right spot for the tail.
This picture reminds me of what God promises to His children. “I will guide you, whether you’re trudging through hot sand, or sinking beneath deep waters, or scaling up a wall, or drifting along. I will never leave your side. Through this difficulty, I will guide you all the way.”
What is the command Jesus gives in Matthew 16:24?
Do you think there is a correlation between God meeting our needs and following Him? What?
Ponder Jesus’ command to follow Him. How close do you think we should follow? Explain.
For our next assignment, let’s take a brief journey through Scripture. Look up each passage and write out exactly how you might close the gap and remain directly behind your Guide, allowing Him to lead.
Scripture Closing the gap
Deuteronomy 32:1-3: _____________________________________________
Psalm 1:1-2: _____________________________________________
Psalm 63:6: _____________________________________________
Psalm 89:1-2: _____________________________________________
Psalm 105:4: _____________________________________________
Psalm 119:105: _____________________________________________
Mark 14:38: _____________________________________________
Colossians 3:16-17: _____________________________________________
It’s important we put these truths into practice every day, and most especially when we find ourselves wandering aimlessly in the desert. I simply cannot imagine God saying, “My beloved one, I give you permission to have a pity party. Call your friends over for a gripe session. You deserve to wallow in your misery.” No! God says:
Meditate on My Word day and night (Psalm 1:2).
Think of Me through the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6).
Keep watching and praying” (Mark 14:38).
The Israelites found themselves smack dab in the middle of the desert. It was in this place they needed God more than ever. And God promised He would lead them. In fact, His promise came to fruition in the form of a cloud by day and a fire by night. They witnessed firsthand His guidance every morning when they awoke, and again every night when they were tired from the journey.
The pathway in the desert can be treacherous and dangerous, with many unforeseen surprises lurking about. There is good news, though. God has promised to take our hand and walk with us through the rivers and the valleys that lie ahead. As we determine to close the gap, we will find that the most comfortable and secure place is right behind our Lord, letting Him go before us. And while we find our rightful place, God will teach us important truths along the way.
What is your situation right now? How did today’s lesson impact you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.