Saturday, June 8, 2013

"His presence directs us" (Numb 9:21-23)

So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. 22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. 23 At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses. (Numb 9:21-23)
God's Presence directs our lives like road signs on the street
A Writer may have a few reasons for using repetition. Some use it for emphasis, to drive a point home in the mind of their readers. While others might use repetition as a way of shouting from the end of the room the words, "I am important, pay attention". Poetry and music touch our inner soul partly because of a writer's skill for using repetition, words or ideas that become friends with our subconscious mind. Biblical literature (Hebrew Literature) like any other literature is no different. God has a skill like no other to inspire Biblical authors to major in the art of driving a point home by using repetition.

In our study of Numbers 9 we see this idea being repeated, "At the command of the Lord the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the Lord they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped. Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not journey"(Num 9:18-19). The idea of God using the cloud to direct His people Israel is being repeated six times within eight verses, shouting from the end of the room, "This is important, I want you to get this". So the valid question is, why was God directing Israel in this way and why is this important to us. The text does not give us explicit reasons but I take the liberty to make a few suggestions.

Why was God directing Israel in this way? 
His presence says, "follow me, I can be trusted"
God used the cloud as a visible sign in this case in order to communicate to Israel when to set out on their journey and when to rest using this process to teach His people how to trust Him. They were able to learn from experience that God was in control of their lives and he was the one who directed them. Through this practice He showed them how to rest on His wisdom and to trust Him to provide for their needs (Deut 8:3-5). I also believe that God desired to show Himself trustworthy, someone they could bank on in the future when they encounter fear, confusion or doubt. This trust for God would lead to comfort, security, obedience and love for God.
In other words, God's presence in the cloud over Israel spoke words of endearment, like what is recorded in Isaiah 41:1-3
He leads us where we should go
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,

Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

Why is this Important for us today? 
As we know the bible accounts were given to enlighten us (2 Tim 3:16). God uses these word to teach us to walk with confidence in this world full of many troubles (John 16:33). The lesson of trusting God to direct and control our lives, instructing us when to move and when to rest, shouts for our reckoning. God speaks to us today through the beautiful cloud of His word, telling us the way we should go, instructing us on how to live life in this world which He has created. 

As he directed Israel through the wilderness to the promise land of Canaan, He directs you and I through the wilderness of this current life until we get to the promise land, described in the book of Revelation (Rev 21). He enables us right now in our wilderness to enjoy His presence, hear His voice as we read His word, delight in fellowship with Him when we pray and derive peace as we obey Him. In a world where truth is evasive and evil is on the increase, we all need His direction to maneuver through life. The God of all creation wants to lead us because He has a good and perfect plan for us (Jer 29:11) and lets face it, He is the only one who really knows the way. 

That is why when Jesus the savior of our world came, He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except by me" (John 14:6). God's presence in the cloud, amongst His people Israel was not only designed to build their trust in God's ability to show them the way to life, but it pointed forward to Jesus Christ, the perfect way into the very heart of God.
Like Israel, we face the same invitation from God, through Jesus Christ. Would we dare to journey with Him on this road of life, would we believe in Jesus, the express image of God, who is the very cloud of God's presence? Lord may I march on in the direction you are leading because I am getting to understand that only by your plan and only through your direction do I experience true comfort for my soul, Amen. I leave you with Ps 128...Until next time..Read, Share and be Comforted.

Be encouraged to follow God's ways by Ps 128:1-4

Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

128 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

My Testimony