Follow that Cloud
Lord, help me to wait for You, to be attentive to Your leading, and to walk in step with You.
Read Numbers 9:15-23
 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire.  That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire.  Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.  At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.  When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out.  Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out.  Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.  Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.  At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat determined the people's movement? What about you?
Although the Israelites are still in the camp at Sinai (and will only break camp in ch. 10), this passage looks ahead to how they will travel through the wilderness. The answer: with God. In a typically strange and mysterious way. Something like a cloud (by day)–though more like fire by night (15,16)–would settle over the tabernacle, which was the dwelling place of God. Wherever it went, they went. When it stayed, they stayed. And its movements were rather unpredictable: a day, a month, a year (19-22). No explanation is offered, presumably because God never gave one. In our own walk with God, do we move on at God’s leading? Then again, sometimes God’s leading means staying put. Either way, God takes the initiative, though we have to be attentive to the task of following. Just as with a cloud, one’s view of what that leading is can be hard to discern. There is both an assurance in God’s presence and leading and a challenge in needing to follow that lead. It’s the same today as it always has been.
If we are to follow God’s leading, we must quiet ourselves to hear him and resolve to obey however he directs.
Father, as Jesus did in his ministry, I want to do only what I see You doing and to say only what I hear You saying.
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