So many things lie in the peripheral, directly out of my line of sight, yet still very much engraved on my heart and my mind. So many moving parts, arranged outside of view, each part connected by thin strands weaving a web in which I can easily get caught up in if not careful about the path I choose. There is that word again…CHOICE. God directs my steps, yet sometimes I still stumble off the path only to get caught up in the strand of pointless emotion which then leads to bad decisions. I’m not a patient person and I am tried continuously because of my constant prayer over situations and circumstances surrounding my life, in the peripheral. I want to fix things, I desire to see conclusion to strange and uninvited interruptions in my walk with God. I don’t much enjoy the thorns in my flesh that pop up from time to time and I don’t care to mull over situations that disturb me. I get frustrated and choose to abandon camp for the ways of the world, even if just for a moment which only serves to feed my need for total control.
Numbers 9:19-23 (NASB) – Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep the Lord’s charge and not set out. 20 If sometimes the cloud remained a few days over the tabernacle, according to the command of the Lord they remained camped. Then according to the command of the Lord they set out. 21 If sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning, when the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would move out; of if it remained in the daytime and at night, whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out. 22 Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out. 23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out; they kept the Lord’s charge, according to the command of the Lord through Moses.
Patience in the waiting is the ultimate test of obedience. The Israelites must have been weary, as am I. They never knew the time, place, or day they would move out; however, God knew their hearts. How many times have I broken camp to move out without a direct command only to find myself stuck? Too many to count. Even as the Israelites camped in strange locations for long periods of time, in sweltering heat, eating food that was falling from the sky, growing in numbers by the day, wearing the same clothes, walking around in circles wondering, “WHEN, God? How long, God? Why, God?”, HE knew what lie ahead. He knew the danger that lurked beyond the cloud. He knew the hearts that beat inside the chest of every wayward individual under His command. He knew what they could take, how much they could bear. When His timing was perfect, the cloud lifted. He understood their discomfort in the monotony of routine living, but He had them wait anyway.
Numbers 10:33-36 (NASB) – Thus they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey, with the ark of the covenant of the lord journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them. 34 The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp. 35 Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, “Rise up, O Lord! And let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before you.” 36 When it came to rest, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the myriad thousands of Israel.”
God knows when we need rest, and He knows when we are able to set out. When the cloud remained, the Israelites remained, and God was with them, as He is with us. So many times, I desired to step off the path and run out of the cloud of protection toward the things of the world that I long for, but it’s a trap. Outside the cloud lies a web of deceit strung between the beautiful promises of God. Isn’t is crazy that satan can twist God’s promises and whisper in our ears to the point where we step out on fear and not on faith? The enemy wants us to leave the cloud behind. It’s a TRAP. Don’t listen! Stay encamped under God’s protective covering and He will give you the desires of your heart. He will influence us and touch us so simply then provide evidence to confirm without a doubt that it is time to move. As long as the way is hidden on the other side of the cloud, then we have to stay exactly where we are. Wait for the cloud to clearly move. He will not be late! I am going to worship Him in the waiting!!
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) – The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.