Tucked in the middle of instructions and preparations to move the Israelite camp toward Canaan is a description of the cloud and fire. God’s presence was manifested as a cloud over the Tabernacle by day and fire by night. At any time the cloud (or the fire) lifted from the Tabernacle – the Israelites were to break camp and follow.
Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out (Numbers 9:22-23).
Maybe this is naive, but I’ve always been envious of this lifestyle of the Israelites. I envy the simplicity. If God moved, they moved. If God stayed, they were to stay. I long for the distractions of this world to be stripped away – so everything comes down to – if God moves, I move. If God stays, I stay.
Let me tell you something… He’s worth following. Just read today’s passage from Mark. He has dominion over the forces of nature, over all the spiritual world and even over death and life. This is a God who is powerful and rich in mercy. Mark’s account of Jesus raising the little girl from the dead has to be one of my favorite gospel stories. You can see His kindness in the details… how He takes her hand and how He ensures she receives food.
We live in a complicated time that is stuffed with stuff – all of which pull at our heartstrings and distract us from the Only One that really matters. Sometimes it takes a desert experience to bring our eyes back to a single focus… worship of the Savior. God, help us to see you through the fog of this world. Help us to see the cloud by day and the fire by night so that we might follow… and worship.