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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Inspired by . . . watch, wait, obey

Some of us will live, work, play and die in the same town in which we were born. Others of us will move once, maybe twice, in our lifetime. Still others will move often, maybe yearly, never really settling down until age makes the decision for us. 

Some of us are given our marching orders, while others of us choose when, where and how long to go or stay.

The Israelites didn't have that option. The book of Numbers records their travels from Egypt to the borders of the Promise Land. The very presence of God determined when they would stop, go or stay.

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. (Num 9:23)
They could see God's presence in the form of a cloud over the tabernacle. When the cloud lifted, that was their cue to pick up and move. When the cloud descended they were to stop and set up camp.

They never knew when the cloud would move. They had to watch, wait and obey. I can only imagine the grumbling. 
"This place is hot and we have to walk for miles to find water for the animals. Why can't we move on, already?"
"We've been walking for days. This looks like a peaceful valley, why can't we stop here?"
"Why do we have to move? I like it here. It's comfortable and shady, with plenty of water for the animals."

It must have seemed pointless at times. Moving to a place, painstakingly setting up the camp according to God's specific instructions. Only to take it all down and move again. But God had a purpose in all that He was doing with the Israelites. He was teaching them a way of living that would govern them for hundreds of years. He was slowly, but steadily moving them toward, and preparing them for, the Promise Land.

God's still doing the same for His children today. Right now, in your life, no matter where He's keeping you or sending you, you can be assured that He has a purpose.

We don't see God's physical presence like the Israelites did, but He has given us something better! Himself, His Holy Spirit, alive within us! And by His Spirit He leads us, just as He led the Israelites.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Rom 8:14)
God goes before us, and directs our steps.

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." (Deu 31:8)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isa 30:21)
These are important truths to remember when we're tempted to grumble. I've been tempted to grumble a bit lately. My Dreamer and I recently made the decision to move out of our little cottage before our new home is ready to be built. It means we'll be displaced for a bit while we're waiting for the next temporary cottage to be available. But someone else needs the cottage more than we do. The decision wasn't a difficult one, but I'm finding it hard to let go.

You see, this cottage welcomed me and gave me a safe place to grieve during a very difficult time in my life. After another move I never expected. It was the first home for my Dreamer and I . . . it holds a special place in our hearts.

God's saying it's time to move. And just like the Israelites, He's moving us one step closer to the Promise Land.

I hope I've learned a lesson from the Israelites. They failed to trust God and ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. I want to be counted with those who trusted and obeyed.

Are you trusting God for your Promise Land?


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