Numbers 9:22 – Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining theron, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not; but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
When the coronavirus pandemic started, the sick people seemed like they were a world away. In Honduras, the first cases did not start showing up until mid-March, ’20. The government was determined to keep it out as long as possible, or to ‘flatten our curve’ by closing our national borders early. Since then there has been a self-quarantine imposed on our lives. Some weeks we could not leave the house at all, while others we can go to the grocery store only on one day with all of the other stores closed. As you can imagine this has been frustrating. Not that we could not leave the house (which was bad enough), but we received different rules sometimes once or twice a week.
In the book of Numbers, Israel was progressing in their deliverance from Egypt and had seen remarkable things happen. The Red Sea had parted, they had seen God’s thunderous presence on Mount Sinai. They had experienced manna from Heaven and water from rocks! With all of this, God Himself was leading the people in the wilderness by a pillar of smoke and fire. Numbers 9:22 describes how God was choosing to lead and how they were to follow at this time. For 40 years the nation would camp when the pillar stayed in place, and then move when the pillar moved. God did not signal ahead of time when there would be a change. He did not consult with Moses or the other leaders of the twelve tribes. There was no getting comfortable in one place for too long. They were on a journey for a reason and they had the specific destination of the Promised Land as their goal. All they had to do was to follow!
In my life I have realized that following is easier for me when I know what is going on and where I am going. I am the guy who jumps in the car and has my map open to know where I am and how to get to my destination. I joke that I have only been lost once in my life – – and then I accepted Christ as my Savior! This waiting in quarantine has been a challenge. I have no control over what rules are in place and I have no input into when they will be lifted. Instead, I can see how God is trying to teach me a lesson. I don’t know what things are in store for my future. I don’t know the twists and turns along the path. I don’t know how long I will be camped in one place. All I know is that I have to follow!
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. – Jeremiah 10:23