Worth the Wilderness

Scripture Crumbs from Numbers 9:15-23 

On the day the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and it appeared like fire above the tabernacle from evening until morning. It remained that way continuously: the cloud would cover it, appearing like fire at night. Whenever the cloud was lifted up above the tent, the Israelites would set out; at the place where the cloud stopped, there the Israelites camped. At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at the Lord’s command they camped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they camped.

Even when the cloud stayed over the tabernacle many days, the Israelites carried out the Lord’s requirement and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud remained over the tabernacle for only a few days. They would camp at the Lord’s command and set out at the Lord’s command. Sometimes the cloud remained only from evening until morning; when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out. Or if it remained a day and a night, they moved out when the cloud lifted. Whether it was two days, a month, or longer, the Israelites camped and did not set out as long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle. But when it was lifted, they set out. They camped at the Lord’s command, and they set out at the Lord’s command. They carried out the Lord’s requirement according to His command through Moses.

The Israelites chose to be completely dependent on God. Each person decided to place their will, direction and purpose solely in the One who rescued them and set them apart. To be in the presence of the Almighty God, to dwell with God, was worth the denial of self and embracing wholehearted devotion.

God revealed Himself to His people through a cloud covering the Tabernacle during the day and burning fire at night. From each tent, the people camped around the Tabernacle could see and know God was with them, at every hour. When they woke up, God was there. While they worked, God was there. As they worshiped, God was there.

The Israelites chose to follow God, rather than their own wisdom. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud stayed, they stayed. “At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at the Lord’s command they camped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they camped.”

Just as the Tabernacle was the “tent of the testimony” (vs. 15), my body (tent) covers or wraps the Testimony of Jesus Christ living in me. God chooses to place His presence over my life and dwell with me.

When I press my snooze button repeatedly, He is there. As I serve Him in my home, He is there. When I read and follow His Word, He is there. In those times I falter and fail Him, He is there. In the middle of the night when I can’t sleep because of stress or a breaking heart, He is there.

God is not my compass. He is my personal guide. I choose to be completely dependent on Him for each step, every decision.

To remain in His presence, to see Him at work and join His service, is worth the long way through the wilderness.

Lord, showcase Your glory in my life. Help me to live in a manner worthy of Your calling. When I sin against You, meet me with mercy at the Tent of Your Testimony. In the brightness of day and the darkness of night, give me the strength to cling to Your truth and faithfulness. I will follow You.

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