As I contemplated the article of the week, Kenny Roger’s song came to mind, “The Gambler.” I hummed along the tune from memory. It became instructive, entertaining and gave guidance as well.
He and a gambler were on a train going nowhere in particular. The other traveler said, “I have learned how to read people’s faces to know what they were holding in the cards. I can see you’re out of aces. Give me a taste of your whiskey and I’ll give you some advice.”
He gave him his last drop of whiskey. “Not only did I give him (the stranger traveling) my last swallow; but my cigarette, too.” He said, “If you gonna play the game, you gotta learn to play it right. You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run.
“You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin when the dealin’s done. That’s the secret of surviving,” the stranger said. “You gotta to know what to throw away and know what to keep.”
Well, let me clarify something just for the record. I don’t drink whiskey, nor do I smoke, nor have I ever used drugs – just a Tylenol every now and then. But further contemplation allowed me to reflect on just what was this song saying?
That took me to another level of thinking as I was guided to the Old Testament – Numbers 9:15-23. About 533 years ago, Moses was leading the children of Israel on a long, difficult 40-year journey.
With millions of people on this journey, he had no map. He had recruited a guide (Hobab), who did not want to go, initially refused by saying, “I will not go. I’m going back to my own land and my relatives.” Moses convinced him to go with them by through the wilderness and built him up by saying, “You will be our eyes and promising good things where they would all share good.”
In Numbers 10:35, we begin to see and learn more clearly about the Lord’s divine, supernatural guidance. In addition to the Lord providing a human guide, He let assigned a cloud by day and by night. As they moved the ark of the covenant, verse 9:35 said, “Rise Up, O LORD! Let your enemies be scattered. And let those who hate you flee before You.”
In Numbers 10:15-23, we find something quite unusual to us, but supernatural behavior for the Lord and divine guidance for the children of Israel during their journey to “the promised land.” The tabernacle was reared up. The cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: at even there was upon the tabernacle the appearance of fire, until the morning.
It was always – the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. When the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
When the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not journey. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they dwelt in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.
And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it was two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
At the commandment of the Lord, they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses. When we listen to the direction and guidance of our Lord, we are always guided in accordance with His directions. We have answered our own question.
Is life just a gamble? When we make unnecessary risky decisions by not going out to do something outside of the Lord’s plan, we risk gambling with our future and the future of our families, businesses, etc. Our lives need patience, perseverance and that may mean not as much risk taking and impulsive decisions.
There will always be obstacles, but at the commandment of the Lord, we listen and act accordingly. As it says, according to the commandment of the Lord whether it is two days, or a month or years, we wait and listen for His voice. We as humans want everything to be fast food, fast blessings.
It just doesn’t work that way. The Lord is very thorough to help us avoid failure. Wait on Him and keep His way. They will be exalted to inherit the land. Wait, I say on the Lord.
Thanks for reading! Jeanette Grattan Parker is the founder-superintendent of Today’s Fresh Start Charter School, 4514 Crenshaw Boulevard, L.A. 90043, 323-293-9826, www.todaysfreshstart.org, (Ask Dr. Jeanette TM) “Inquiring Minds Want to Know.” All articles are copyright. All rights reserved © [email protected] Reference: The Holy Bible. Companion Bible; The Word in Life Study Bible. Any errors? Let me know.