NUMBERS 9:15-23 – On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. 17 And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. 18 At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the Lord they remained in camp; then according to the command of the Lord they set out. 21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. 23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses.
THEME OF THE DAY. GOD LEADS HIS PEOPLE. Today’s scripture is an interesting and insightful look at how the Lord led His people in the Old Testament. He did so through a cloud over the tabernacle. He was in the cloud leading them. Go back and read the account of the people’s response to this “movement” of God. Whenever the cloud moved, they moved. Whenever the cloud remained over the tent of the tabernacle, the people stayed put. And notice the time varied. Sometimes the cloud moved in a day, sometimes not, but regardless, the people did not take things in their own hands. They waited on God and His movement no matter the delay. The lessons in this account are good ones for us as we live out the Christian life, not led by the Lord by a cloud, but by His Spirit and Word. Let’s consider two.
First, God leads His people. His covenant commitment, His steadfast love, and the fulfilment of His work begun in His people demand His active and aggressive leadership (Philippians 1:6). However, He does so not by clouds, inward impressions, or anything else apart from prayer, His Word, and godly counsel. That is why we must be a people saturated by the Bible. The Holy Spirit leads us by His Word, never apart from His Word. And if we feel we are being led by God but it lacks the affirmation of scripture and godly counsel, don’t follow it. It is likely us being led by our feelings and own understanding, not the Lord.
Second, God’s people are willing to wait. In today’s scripture we read, “Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.” Don’t be in a hurry when God chooses to wait in answering our prayers for direction. His ways and timing are always best. Many Christians have made bad and life-altering decisions because they didn’t wait on God. They act impulsively or on emotions and thought it was the Lord. Don’t go there. Wait. Don’t let emotions rule. He will lead us according to His timing not ours.
God leads His people. Trust Him. He did His people of old and continues to do so to us, His new covenant children.
PRAYER: “Father, please help me to stay so close to You that I may discern Your will for me.”
QUOTE: “If we don’t stay close to God in prayer and the Word, we will be led by our own faulty understanding.”