God's Command

God's Command

21 February 2012

Reading: Numbers 8-9; Acts 28


17 When the Cloud lifted above the Tent, the People of Israel marched out; and when the Cloud descended the people camped. 23 They camped at God’s command and they marched at God’s command. They lived obediently by God’s orders as delivered by Moses. (Numbers 9:17, 23 MSG)

God had brought his people out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Now they were on their way to a land they would one day receive as their own. The two-week journey across this wilderness would ultimately require 40 years to complete! In the meantime, they traveled. They traveled with God’s provision, on God’s schedule, under God’s orders. They were guided on the journey by the cloud of God’s presence, hovering over the Tabernacle. When the cloud rested, the people rested. When the cloud moved, the people moved. They couldn’t plan when it would happen, they only had to be ready to pack up and move when the cloud lifted.

God’s guidance of Israel in the wilderness has lessons and insights for the Christian life. We have a tendency to settle in one spot, to get comfortable, and to resist change. If we must move or change, we want everything planned out with maps and timetables and route-plans. Sometimes we even approach it this way, “God, just give us the general idea of what you have in mind and we’ll take it from here.”

When God’s taking us where we’ve never been before, we’ve got to move at God’s direction and on God’s timetable. We must be ready and willing to move when God prompts, and to wait patiently when he waits. And we must maintain sensitivity and openness to his command, whether as bold as cloud and fire, or as gentle as his quiet voice and inner promptings.


Father, I am more aware than ever that this life of faith is a journey from slavery to freedom. I am increasingly aware that I don’t know how to get where we’re going, how fast we can get there, and how long it’s going to take. I submit unconditionally to your wisdom, your will, and your timing. I trust you to lead. Help me be sensitive and responsive to your promptings and commands. Help me to follow well and without complaining. Well, mostly without complaining, anyhow! Amen.

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