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Devotional: The Cloud Above the Tabernacle


Reading: Numbers 9
Marked: verses15-23
15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire.
16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire.
17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.
18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out.
20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out.
21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.
23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses

Observations:
  • Whether it was day or night, the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire.
  • Whenever the cloud lifted, God's people set out. Whenever it settled, they encamped.
  • The cloud lifting and setting are God's clear direction and command for His people to go or to stay.
  • Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days.
  • Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning.
  • Even when the cloud settled a long time, the Israelites obeyed and did not set out.
  • Whenever the cloud lifted, they set out, whether it was by day or by night.
  • At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out.
Reflections
  1. The fiery cloud which was a visible indication of God's presence and leading looked the same whether it was day or night. People kept reminded that God was visible and near through the cloud. He was fire and the same intense of a fire which God's people saw, whether it was day or night. The variances of nature has no effect on Him.
  2. When God directed them to move, they moved. If He stayed them, they stayed; no matter how long, they did not set out if God didn't instruct them to. God's ways are never our ways, and we may never be capable of comprehending how God maps the timeline of our lives. It should suffice that God is the one leading and we can depend on His leading to always make sense and to always be the best course of action or non-action for us to take.
  3. God doesn't always accomplish things in one go. At times, He sees it best to progress and process things for a certain period of time. There is an intelligent reason for when He moves and when He delays us.
  4. There is wisdom in His thoughts and ways. He has foreknowledge and He has perfect understanding. His wisdom is superior and perfectly right, perfectly trustworthy. It is a joke for a flawed and limited mortal to question the ways and plans of God. We seem like mere babes trying to pass ourselves as experts when we question God and refuse to yield to His plans. It is also a tragedy when we resist and go our own way because the loss is always ours to bear, never His. Whatever God does, it is for our best. Yet, we never seem to grasp that most of the time. We refuse His best often because we just want things our way.
Response
I pause to worship my God whose ways are not my ways and whose timeline is perfectly laid out. I pray for wisdom to discern when He stays me and when He moves me on. I pray to go in trust as I wait on Him. I also pray for dependence on Him, that I may stay close to Him as He moves me on.


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