The Israelites stayed when God said “stay” and moved when God said “move”. They had a clear sign.
God is still speaking today, albeit maybe not through clouds and pillars of fire. John 10:10 tells us that we will know the voice of our shepherd and will not follow another. In the times that we struggle to hear God’s direction, there is an invitation to silence out the noise and distractions that have caused us to be numb and complacent.
When I’m working and awake, moving towards purpose and away from comfort, my body craves what it needs, not just what it wants. Rarely does anything quench my thirst like water does after I’ve pushed my body passed what is physically comfortable.
I’m all too familiar with the feeling of being full, yet not satisfied.
What I’ve ingested is not what I need. This rings true for my mind as well as my body. When I fill it with things just to occupy the empty space (media), I’m left with a void that is felt in a deep place.
On my own volition I won’t choose the hard road, the disciplined and purposed path. I need someone to lead and guide me.
Just this week as I was pondering these things, my scheduled reading plan lead me to Numbers Chapter 9. Accidentally? I doubt it. In my grumbling and lack of faith, I relate to the Israelites. Even when they had a clear sign, I’m sure there was an internal wrestle and resistance to pack everything up and move in a new direction. Think herds of animals, dessert heat and no showers. Yet, they lived their life by this directive of the cloud and the fire. When the cloud settled they pitched their tents. When it moved, so did they. They had a history with God that they could rely on. He said he would part the sea and He did. I’m sure they didn’t always want to move, but they had an understanding that they were to respond when God spoke. They trusted that God was good and more importantly that He could see what they could not.
The Israelites God is our God, and He is calling out to us, directing us toward acting justly and choosing rightly.
This is the promise: When we hunger after His heart and trust His ways, we will be satisfied.
And the bonus to obedience is that it doesn’t just benefit us, it makes a way for those who come behind. The choices of obedience and right living in the wilderness made way for generations to enter the promised land. Let’s live like Caleb and Joshua - courageously pushing past fear of the unknown. Let’s hunger and thirst after the abundant life He has promised and feast on the food that will sustain and satisfy us for the journey.