Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. (Numbers 9:22)
Until they reached the Promised Land, the children of Israel had no permanent place they could call home. Even when they reached a place that was good and could possibly sustain them long-term, they knew they were at the mercy of the cloudy pillar and that at any moment it could be taken up and they would once again have to journey. In the wilderness, they led a nomadic life.
As the old hymn says, this world is not our home. It can be inviting and it can look like home. Like the Israelites, God can allow us to stop in one place for a long time, even put down roots. But this world and this life is not our final destination. What we seek is a place we can only see now by faith, a place whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10b).
It’s easy to forget, but as settled as we can become where God puts us in this life, we have to constantly remember, like the people of Israel: “This is only temporary. We still have more to our journey.”
Men like Demas lost their way. Paul said of him:
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…. (2 Timothy 4:10a)
We cannot be too critical of him because we can be that way too. It’s why Paul admonishes that we:
(15) …walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
(16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
(17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we have to live with the understanding that God could lead us anywhere at any time. Are you ready to follow?
[Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash]