The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar of cloud stopped, the tents were pitched; but the next day the morning sun arose, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow mountain passes, up the hillsides, or along the arid wastes of the wilderness. They scarcely had time to rest a little before they heard the sound of "Onward! this is not your rest; you must keep journeying onward toward Canaan!" They never stayed for long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.
They had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof, and its flame by night their fireplace. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle or to say, "Now we are secure; we will stay in this place." Moses says, "Though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations."1
The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sick today and well tomorrow; he may be happy today and sad tomorrow--but there is no change regarding his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.
My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Even when prospects are few and hopes are squashed and joy is waning, I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is "my refuge" to which I continually return. I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet dwelling place.