Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2 - Numbers 9:15, 17-18

On the day the tabernacle was set up,
the cloud covered the tabernacle ...
Whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent,
then the Israelites would set out;
and in the place where the cloud settled down,
there the Israelites would camp. 
At the command of the Lord the Israelites would set out,
and at the command of the Lord they would camp.
Numbers 9:15,17-18
I love that simple pattern of obedience:
  • At the command of the Lord the Israelites would set out,
  • and at the command of the Lord they would camp.
I wish I'd always have that kind of clear-cut obedience, but I also realize that it would be nice to have such clear signs:
  • Whenever the cloud lifted ... the Israelites would set out;
  • and [when] the cloud settled down... [they] would camp.
Wouldn't it be nice if God's plans for you came with a trail of smoke leading the way? "Come on, Marvin, your next job is over here. Follow the bouncing cloud." 
No ... it's not quite as simple as "follow the bouncing cloud." Rather, life is like a river. God does give us some firm guidelines and barriers. His word and his laws are like immovable rocks on one side of this river of life (and sometimes people crash their life into them and their lives are a shipwreck). 
The other side of the river is softer. Character and wisdom are more like weeds and reeds. God allows us a whole lot more leeway on this bank. Indeed, most of us get bogged down from time to time by compromising our character and settling for dubious wisdom. Yes, too much of our lives -- whether we realize it or not -- is spent tangled in the weeds.
On the other hand, the safest, quickest, most joyful course is going God's way -- straight down the middle of the river of life. Some people see straight as a straight jacket, but there's still a lot of freedom. We can paddle fast ... or gently drift ... or pause all day to fish. We can spend our time enjoying the journey and singing praise as we go.
Here's all we need to know: God's plans for us are clearer than we think. All we have to do is go God's way rather than get tangled up in our own.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who notices the clouds more
when he not fighting the weeds

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