"Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up."
The people of Israel were led stage by stage across the desert by the Spirit of God. He let them know when they should stop and rest, how long they should stay in each place, when they should set out again and how long they should march before stopping again.
Every day, as each family got up, the head of the household would check to see if the cloud had gone up from over the Tabernacle or if it still rested there. When the cloud went up from the Tabernacle, Moses would command the priests to blow the silver trumpets and alert the people so that they could pack up and be ready to move.
They had to live always ready to respond to the Holy Spirit’s call, their lives organized with mobility in mind, always aware that the place where they had camped was a temporary stopping-place on the way to the land that God had promised.
Our pilgrimage on this earth is not much different. While all our needs are met by the world through which we travel, we don’t belong anywhere here. We’re on our way to the home that God has promised (“I go to prepare a place for you…”). We can never become so attached to this world that we aren’t willing to pack it all in and walk away when the cloud rises up from over the Tabernacle.
Day by day we check the Tabernacle of our heart, where the Spirit of God dwells, and get our directions for today. This world is not our home. We have a permanent dwelling place, but it’s not here. We’re on our way there, led by the Word and the Spirit of God, stage by stage.
Lord Jesus, as You led Your people through the desert, give me a heart that watches, listens, and responds to You. Keep me ready to follow Your guidance day by day, to know when to rest and when to move, always aware that this world is not my home. Keep my eyes on You today. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles