Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle and moved, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. But if the cloud stayed, they would stay until it moved again.
Exodus 40:36-37 (NLT)
How good are you at following directions? Me, I don’t like being told what to do. Even if it’s something I know I can or should do, as soon as someone tells me I have to, I go into shut down mode.
For as much trouble as Israel got into, the one thing they seemed to manage to get the hang of was following God. Literally. While they may have broken down on occasion and complained or worshipped a golden calf, when God moved, they moved. When God stayed, they stayed.
It’s such a simple concept, but one that can be so, so difficult to grasp. Sometimes we get bored and want to move on, but God says we’re not ready yet. Other times, we’re comfortable and want to stay, but God says it’s time to go.
I wonder how much more God would be able to use me if I stopped acting like a spoiled brat, pushing one way or pulling another, and learned to follow His directives a little better?
Daily Bible reading: Exodus 39-40, Matthew 24:1-22
The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.
Exodus 13:21-22 (NLT)
I’m going to be organised today and pull this one apart point by point. There is so much in these two verses we can learn from:
- The Lord went ahead of them. Not beside or behind. Ahead. God was in the lead. Israel followed. God isn’t on a leash to be taken out for a walk when we feel He needs to come out to play. He’s not there for us to drag along as a reluctant participant. He’s there to lead. We’re here to follow.
- This allowed them to travel by day or by night. We often make the incorrect assumption that God will only call us to move when conditions are optimal. I wouldn’t call travelling at night the best time to travel—especially not how the Israelites were doing it with young and old, wagons and flocks. Can you imaging trying to move not only a million plus people, but all the animals and goods that went with them? The optimal time to move is when God says so.
- If you don’t see a sign, maybe you should stay where you are. Now, this isn’t taken directly from this passage, but it speaks from it nonetheless. If you know that God has led you to a certain place and suddenly the sign disappears, maybe it’s time to stick it out where you are for a while. Don’t immediately rush out looking for the next sign. Perhaps God needs you to grow and learn for a season rather than move on to the next one right away.
Daily Bible reading: Exodus 13-15, Matthew 19:1-15