I enjoy camping – I even like getting everything ready for the big event – the sleeping bags, the food – I like cooking out, the personal items, and everything else necessary for a few nights in the great out of doors. Going camping for me is a great stress reliever and it’s worth the effort it takes to get back to nature.
The Israelites knew all about the challenges of camping. Their forty-year expedition in the wilderness may not have been what they were expecting. They lived as nomads without permanent housing. They lived in tents in the desert and moved at the direction of God. There are nomads that still live like this in the Holy Land today.
In addition to their personal belongings, the Israelites also traveled with the tabernacle, which was the portable dwelling place of God’s presence. During this time, the Lord provided a sign to the Israelites – a cloud to assure them that God was with them.
Whenever the cloud lifted above the tabernacle, the people knew it was time to move on. And when the cloud stood still they set up camp and remained there until the cloud lifted again. Sometimes the cloud hovered over the tabernacle from evening until the next morning. Other times it stayed for a month or longer.
The Israelites didn’t know when they would moving on – on the road again – or where they would be going.
They had absolutely no control or say in the matter. They lived day by day in complete dependence on the guidance of the Lord. And yet, despite the uncertainty and inconvenience of this lifestyle, they obeyed.
As I think about those nomads I wonder where I am in my journey with the Lord. Am I camping out and waiting for the Lord’s instructions? Am I on the move, following in the direction God is leading me? Where ever I am I do know that the Lord is with me. I work to listen for God’s voice.
If God says wait, then I have learned to sit tight. If God says go, then I start packing. I’ve learned and am still learning to be like the Israelites. To follow God where ever God leads.
Let us pray: O God I know You have a plan for my life. You have work for me to do and places for me to go. As I spend time in prayer and Your Word You speak to my heart. When I trust and obey – when I listen with my whole being You show me when it’s time to move on or time to wait on You. So Lord keep my ears and eyes open to Your leading and Your guidance. Keep me ever faithful in my journey with You. It is in the Name that is above all Names – Jesus – that I pray. Amen.