My recent Bible reading has opened my eyes to a challenging reality in my life. It has shown me a dangerous path that my feet are tempted to tread, and I’m praying daily for God to give me the strength to be where I am supposed to be. Let me explain.

In the book of Numbers, we learn about the Pillar of fire and the Pillar of cloud that accompanied the Israelites. It was an outward expression of the presence and Spirit of God. The Pillar protected them (from the pharaoh’s army) and guided them, much like the Holy Spirit does for us in the New Covenant.

When the Pillar stopped, the Israelites would set up camp. They would stay there until God’s Spirit (shown through the Pillar) would again begin to move.

When it moved, the priests blew trumpets, and the people would pack their belongings and follow God. They would sometimes stay in one place for a day, a week, or even longer. But the key takeaway here is that they moved when God said. And God had a plan. He was in control. They were supposed to trust and follow Him and Him alone.

Fast forward to today. I have always struggled with getting ahead of God and His plans for me. Perhaps it is because of pride, or maybe I lack patience. I’ve been burned by this behavior in the past, but it continues to be an ongoing temptation. That is why this story from Numbers hit home for me.

Imagine if a couple of “brave” Israelites decided to pre-empt God’s movement. They thought they knew where God was taking them next, so they decided to get a head start and wait for God when He arrived with the rest of the Israelites.

That doesn’t seem like an excellent plan, but that is what I often do. But in this season of my life, I am trying to make some changes. I’m learning to wait on the Lord.

Setting out on my own will only result in me being lost and confused in the wilderness. The Father is always available to rescue me and bring me back into the fold, but I’d like to avoid the trouble this time. I am going to try patience.

Another thing is that while the Israelites were in the camp, they weren’t just sitting around waiting. They were worshiping and making sacrifices. Their focus was on the goodness of God, or at least it should have been. They often fell short of this.

So, I’m going to focus on worship and sacrifice. I’m looking deep into my heart for anything that displeases Him. I want to surrender my life to the Lord and hold nothing back in reserve. That way, when the time comes to move into the next season, my heart will be right, and I will walk in the right direction.

We are in a weird stage of our life right now. For the last 21 years on the mission field, I always had a task and a people group to reach. Though not simple, the steps are clear. As we pray about our future, I am making some commitments.

I WILL NOT move from the camp until the Spirit says it is time to go. 
I WILL NOT anticipate God’s next move or get ahead of Him. 
I WILL NOT commit myself to a direction or plan for our family until the Pillar of cloud moves and the trumpets blast. 
I WILL worship and make sacrifices, No matter how anxious I get or how much I feel the world is closing in on me. 
I WILL trust the Lord.

If you find yourself in a difficult season. If you struggle with life-altering decisions, I hope you will join me in these commitments.

Maybe when the Spirit isn’t moving, it’s because he wants us to worship and trust before we enter our next season of activity.

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