One of the most helpful lessons that we can learn from the Israelites as they journeyed from Egypt to the Promised Land concerns the way in which they were guided by the Lord. Although they did not know the way, God did – and He was with them. The cloud that rested above the tabernacle signified His presence by day and night. The people’s responsibility was simply to look up and watch that symbol of His presence. If the cloud stayed, the camp must remain where it was; if the cloud began to move, it was time for them to pack up and follow.
The time interval was never specified. They might remain in the same place for two days, a month, or a year (Num. 9:22). It would be useless to move before the cloud did, for they would not know which direction to take! However, to stay put when the cloud moved would be foolish because it would mean that they were refusing the presence of the Lord.
Often we imagine that we know the way, but we don’t. Like the Israelites who had to check the cloud daily, we must look up to the Lord for guidance. If we are not constantly depending upon Him, we might miss His leading. Just as the Lord chose the way they were to take, we must allow Him to choose the way for us. Our own will must be abandoned to His. For the Israelites, the guidance might not always have been convenient.
Some locations might have seemed pleasant, but then the Lord began to move them on. At other times they could become impatient when the cloud stayed put and they wanted to move. Worst of all, perhaps, was when the cloud began to move in the night. Who would want to start packing then?
Our hearts are no different. The Lord’s calls may not always seem convenient to us. We can display the same impatience or reluctance that they did. Obedience is the key element, learning to stay or to move as He directs – for He always knows best.
The life of faith is never trouble-free, but help is never far away. It requires constant waiting upon the Lord for direction. All our human plans must be “God willing.” Remember, the Israelites couldn’t even plan for tomorrow!
Are we uncertain what to do? Jesus said, “I am the Way” (Jn. 14:6). We must go with Him – and when we do, we will discover that He takes care of all the incidentals.
according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents,
and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.”
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org