“When the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel followed it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel camped. In this way, they traveled at the Lord’s command and stopped wherever he told them to…Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days. Then at the Lord’s command they would break camp. Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and moved on the next morning…Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on.” (Numbers 9:17-22 NLT)
So here we find the freshly freed people of God, used to a permanence (400 years plus) of home, food and work in Egypt (albeit slavery), becoming a people of the moment! When the visible presence of God (a column of cloud by day and of fire by night) lingered over their house of worship, they stayed. When the Creator moved, they moved. There was no letter of intent, notice of foreclosure, or grace period. They didn’t even get a two minute warning! It might be one night, a week or two, or years, but they were to throw their need for permanence so completely on God, that all the rest was pale in comparison. This was no small undertaking to move over a million people along with flocks, herds and a portable church at a moment’s notice. Are you starting to sweat a little? I bet you’re already anticipating the question of challenge, so here it is: What things have assumed so much permanence in your life that they prevent you from following the glory of God when he says, “It’s time to move”? God may move you geographically, relationally, in your worship, in serving, in giving and so many more ways. This same issue is revealed in the New Testament too. In this example from the book of Luke, we find a test that can help us identify those “permanence” roadblocks. Jesus had invited someone to join His disciples with the words, “Follow me.” (chapter 9, verse 59). It is the invitation we all have! Hear this man’s response, “First, let me go…” It doesn’t matter what blank is filled in (2 verses later another man uses the same phrase), the problem is that something was more important than following Jesus.
So, if you were called by The Almighty to move somewhere, in something, in some way, what would you first “need” to take care of before you went? Those are the things you need to ask Him to help you give up. May it be said of us that, “…at the Lord’s command they would break camp…”, and follow!
– Pastor John