when it’s time to move on

Was reading this morning in Numbers 9 about the Israelites when they were moving along in the desert wilderness, post-Egypt.  Was reading verses 19-23.  Just some thoughts about following God in this verses that really stuck out to me.  I’ll try to keep this brief, but I’m thinking out loud so it probably won’t be.  May become a sermon at some point 🙂

19 If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord. 20 Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the Lord commanded. Then at the Lord’s command they would break camp and move on. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. 22 Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23 So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.  – Numbers 9:19-23

Basic premise is that there was a cloud that was the Lord’s presence and would lead them through the wilderness on the way to the promise land (which included a 40 year sight seeing tour because of their disobedience, whining, complaining and wishing that they could go back to Egypt – but that’s another post for another time).  When the cloud came down and settled on the tabernacle, they were to camp there until the cloud lifted back up and moved on.  Here are my thoughts:

  • 19 – wherever the cloud settled, they “performed their duty to the Lord” – they worshipped, they lived, they did what God told them to do.  How about for you and me.  Are you at a place where you know there is a coming destination, whether in your career, family or ministry but right now you’re in the “getting there stages”?  Am I being obedient in serving Him wherever I am in the journey.  To coin a song title, am I being faithful where I’m at “while I’m waiting”?  Also, I think it is key to not miss the lesson in the waiting.
  • 20-22 – Sometimes they would camp for just one night.  Sometimes they would pull up camp during the night.  Then, sometimes they would camp for a month at a time, even a year.  When they were moving at a rapid pace, there had to be excitement in the camp..and probably some grumbling.  “Again, God?  We’re moving again?”  The flip side to that had to be in those prolonged times..the months and year times.  The text doesn’t say, but you know there had to be thoughts of “When, God?  How long until we reach the promised land?  We’ve been out here a long time.”  I think this is reality for most of us at some point in our journey.  There are times and seasons in my life where it seemed like God was moving in my life at a rapid fire pace.  Exciting things in life and ministry just firing off.  And then there are times where it seems God waits….He pauses.
  • 22-23 – As soon as the cloud lifted and moved on, they got up right then, pulled up stakes and followed.  This is tough.  This is hard at times.  Obedience.  Obedience is not doing what God says, when I feel like doing it and how I want to do it.  Obedience is doing what God says when HE says to do it and how HE says to do it.  Sometimes that is easy.  Sometimes not so much.  Listening, expecting, hearing and doing what Jesus says.  Praying and asking for grace to do them all.

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