"Who is among you that feareth the LORD,
that obeyeth the voice of his servant,
that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?
Let him trust in the name of the LORD,
and stay upon his God.
Behold, all ye that kindle a fire,
that compass yourselves about with sparks:
walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled.
This shall ye have of mine hand;
ye shall lie down in sorrow."
I read a little further in Edith Schaeffer's book Affliction this morning. It was a chapter about affliction and guidance. "Guidance? The Lord so often gives it in the midst of what looks like hindering affliction."
"He wants us to walk along with our hand in His, waiting for Him to give our hand a little tug when we are to go a bit to the left on a path hidden by leaves, or a bit to the right and past that fern-covered rock. We are not given a map and then left to run ahead on our own. We are meant to stay close and wait for His tug on our hand or His push away from a pitfall."
"Here is the warning, the clear, negative promise that trouble will result if we rush for help away from God. There is an impatience pictured here, a specific walking in the opposite direction, going somewhere for help and advice from a source that is neither the Bible nor the Lord's guidance in answer to prayer."
"The rushing-to-Egypt for help is a pushing aside of God, a decision that prayer is too slow a way to go about anything, a disregarding of the truth that God is able to give guidance, and an unbelief that God can communicate His plan or that He can lead in any practical way."
"Here we are in our deep trouble and great need, without a clue as to what to do next. The command is to take this opportunity to trust the Lord. The command is to stay, to wait, to not move until He leads us through all the fog, cloud, darkness... We may choose to wait for His direction and leading, His plan to be unfolded." (all Edith Schaeffer quotations)
Or, we can kindle a fire with our own sparks, walk in the light of our own fire, and lie down in sorrow.
I love that phrase 'stay upon His God'. I keep thinking of the passage where the Lord is chiding Israel for turning to Egypt instead of to Him.
He wanted to be their help, but they said,
"No! We will flee on swift horses!"
So He said their enemies would be even faster.
Waiting, staying upon our God is counter-intuitive.
Our hearts say 'RUN!'
But our God says, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."
What is interesting to me about that, is that they were leaving Egypt when He said it to them.
Trapped between a pursuing army and the sea.
It wasn't a permanent inactivity the Lord was asking of them.
They were on their way out, but they were not to flee.
The Lord went before them, and was their rear guard,
and they needed to choose to trust Him -- with the enemy on their heels.
To stay upon their God.