Scripture: Numbers 9:15-23
Physiologists and those who study human nature will tell you moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do! Everything changes; you leave the familiar and go into the uncertain. It can mean new job, new schools, and making new friends. It is a big deal and for many they would be happy to just stay put and enjoy life.
For many Christians it is just the same...we do not like to move! Therefore, here is the question. Why do we need to keep moving?
# 1. To stay with the presence of God.
I suppose the truth of the matter is that by settling down into one place we get a chance to make a life, meet people & establish a familiar environment. And the reality is that’s what most of us want in life.
But every time we move it takes quite some time to establish these things again.
I was very comfortable in life living in Atlanta USA when after 3 years God said....move! It wasn’t easy to pull up our roots there and move back to Belfast.
The key here is that wherever God’s presence is, that is also, where the blessing is. And that’s what we need to be ready to move with - the presence of God because wherever God is – that’s where the blessing is and that’s where we need to be. And that’s exactly what god wanted his people do ..... get into His presence & be where He was.
For these people it was a simple thing – follow the cloud! Vs 21. 21 So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey.
The big, important question is the place where you and I have settled down right now, is the presence of God there or is it moving on to new and better places! Is where we are now, where God wants you to be in life or is God wanting to unsettle you & me and move us on to something else.
# 2. To follow the direction of God.
For these people any direction they took was going into uncharted territory. They had lived their entire lives in Egypt just a stones throw from the brick factory. Life had been pretty predictable for them ... off to the brick factory! There wasn’t too much about life that was unusual / unpredictable or out of the ordinary & when you are living that kind of life you don’t need too much direction. Same old, same old every day. Groundhog Day Syndrome!
I think that this is possibly the problem with many Christians today ... their lives are so predictable ..... there is such an absence of God moving that they don’t need any direction! What’s more there is no longer any need for faith in their lives. It’s the spiritual Groundhog Day Syndrome!
But that’s not the kind of life that God wants His people to live. It’s God prerogative as our creator to direct us into a life where we will have to trust in His presence & His power. One of the greatest dangers you face as a Christian is that you would no longer need God to lead you.
You see once these people crossed over the Red Sea – everything was completely new territory and it required them to believe God for their very survival.
Have you been in that place lately? When was the last time you really had to believe God? Knew you needed God? Really wanted God in your life?
There’s a group of people in the world that have become known as storm chasers. (There’s a great movie made a few years ago about them). Through weather reports they track tornadoes & go out into the country side waiting for a tornado to form & then to go chasing after it. The problem w/ tornadoes however is that they don’t always stick to the road, they cut across fields / schools / mountains / rivers & lakes & wherever they please. But if they want to enjoy the excitement of the tornado they have to be willing to take the same path of the tornado or risk losing it!
And the same is true of God ..... that if you want to be involved in the excitement / thrill of God moving you have to be willing to take the same path that God is moving along. You have to become a God chaser!
# 3. To realise the destination is God!
There is no greater destination we can move towards in life than God Himself. James 4:8 (NKJV) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. .....
Get the big picture in our text ...... God is representing Himself by a cloud that is hanging over the tabernacle the very place where God dwells. As the people are moving towards the cloud what they are really moving towards is – God! And isn’t that what the Christian life is really all about – moving towards God Himself? Psalms 16:11 (NKJV) 11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
As God was leading His people out of Egypt He was leading them towards the promised land. God described it as a land the flowed with milk & honey, where every blessing was. But it was the fact that God was there that made it paradise! When we make God our destination we not only get God Himself but everything that is with Him. When we reach our destination, when we finally into the very presence of God Himself – everything will be there! When God is our destination we find everything we need.
Are you stuck in a rut or have you settled for less of an existence than you were called by God to live? Have you ever thought, “Is this it, is this all there is?” Has something kept you in the place of mediocrity? Have you settled, gotten sidetracked or disappointed to the point of paralysis? Perhaps it’s time for you to move forward like the Children of Israel did.