“Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.”
While reading this verse, a shock wave seemed to go through me. There is nothing we can do to make God stop perusing us.
The Lord did amazing things for Israel when He delivered them from Egypt. He tried, over and over, to prove His undying love for them. He saved them from slavery, fed them, nurtured them, clothed them, led them through the desert. The pillar of fire at night and cloud by day was, consistently, a physical manifestation of His allegiance to them. He gave them everything He had and did all He could to prove to them He was all they would ever need in order to fulfill their destiny, dreams and desires.
Yet, they denied Him, turned their backs on Him, betrayed Him. They bowed to false idols, claiming other gods as their savior, gave in to every lustful and sinful thought that crossed their minds and permitted themselves to forget, so quickly, all God had done for them.
But, even when they worshipped something other than Him, even when they turned to sin and sickness to fulfill them, even when they allowed satan to take over their camp, God still sent the fire by day and the cloud by night to guide them.
We often relate our relationship with God to human relationships. When a friend or loved one betrays us, belittles us, abuses us over and over again we, eventually, forgive them, but we will typically never fully trust them again, to allow them into our lives in an intimate way as we did before. We all know the motto, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”, and most of us abide by that saying. God is not like that.
God sees beyond our actions and fixes His eyes on the bigger picture: Infinity. God’s ultimate desire is to spend all of eternity with His children, which is why He never gives up on them, even when they prove themselves unworthy and undeserving.
It is amazing, isn’t it, how much God loves us? When I think about my life and all the things I have done that went against what I knew was right, the things I have said knowing they would hurt someone, the things I have thought that Jesus never would have thought, I know I don’t deserve Him, yet He loves me anyway. There was a time when I blamed God for so much, when I put the successes of satan on the Lord’s shoulders and when I hurled insults at Him in our alone time knowing, even as the words left my mouth, how wrong it was. But, God never stopped showing me the next step, He never ceased to be there when I called out to Him and He never denied me even after I denied Him.
Reading this verse in Nehemiah has reminded me of just how desperate the Lord is to be among His children. God will never give up on me, or you, and He will still send blessings even after we make mistake after mistake.
Just because you may have walked in the wrong direction for a time does not mean your God will not continually attempt to show you the way back. He loves you, desires to be with you and will never stop sending a cloud to lead you and a fire to warm you.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
-Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)