Category Archives: Guidance: Being Led By The Spirit
Reading: Numbers 7 – 9
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.
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. Numbers 9:22-23 (NIV)
When God led his people Israel into the desert, he gave them no itinerary. There was no route guide, and no time frame. He simply said, “Follow me.” They were “the People of the Presence”.
Every moment of every day, God's visible presence could be seen by every one of them, from the oldest to the youngest. He was in the cloud that hovered over the Tent of Meeting. By night, the cloud was still visible and looked like fire.
“Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped.” (Numbers 9:17-18)
And so it was that for forty years, whenever the Israelites set up camp, they did so in the knowledge that they could be leaving again in the morning. Or, they could be stopping for a year. They just didn't know.
There was no opportunity to put down roots in a physical location or become dependent on the land's resources. Instead, God was both their home and their provider.
God is also my home and my provider. And the Holy Spirit is my fire and my cloud. My citizenship now is in heaven (see Phil 3:20), and even as I write, Jesus is preparing a place for me there (see John 14:2). In the meantime, he has urged me not to worry about my needs. They will all be met as I seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness. (See Matt 6:25-34)
Just as Israel looked to God every day to see how he would lead them, I too need to be constantly looking to God, ready and willing to follow his every prompting.
So easily I put roots down into those things that would seem secure. And how hard that makes it to move when God himself is on the move. If however, my roots are in God, I need never uproot again. I will be free to move whenever and wherever his Spirit would lead me.
In ballroom dancing (when done well), the woman follows the gentle promptings of her partner so closely that the two move across the dance floor as one. There is no hesitation and no dispute. It works because each partner understands their role, one to lead, and the other to follow. And the result? Harmony and beauty.
This is my desire Lord, that without hesitation or dispute, I might follow the promptings of your Spirit, that your purpose would be my purpose, and your desire mine. Help me to look to you for all I need, and to seek you and your kingdom above all else.
“…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 (NIV)
Reading: Exodus 39:32 – 40:38
Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels. Exodus 40:34-38 (NIV)
Every day and every night of their 40 years in the wilderness, the pillar of cloud and fire reminded Israel that God was with them. They could see it, they could no doubt hear it, and they could feel it as it provided shade by day and heat by night. The pillar was a multi-sensual representation of God's Presence. And where was God's Presence? Covering and filling the Tent of Meeting, indicating that God's desire was to meet with his people.
Whenever the pillar of cloud moved, the people packed up and followed it. They were effectively moving with the Presence of God. Moving where they did not know, but moving nonetheless. Their ultimate destination was the promised land, but in the meantime, they were simply following God. It was guidance by cloud and by fire.
Guidance isn't always easy. There have been times when I could have wished for my own personal pillar of cloud to help me decide what to do next. But now I think of it, the Holy Spirit is just that – my own personal pillar of cloud. He is my Fire. He is God's Presence meeting with me, and I am the 'Tent of Meeting', anointed and consecrated to him; He dwells in me! And He is the one who leads me as I keep in step with him, following his promptings and enjoying his conversation.
No wonder that increasingly my desire is simply to 'move with the Presence of God'. The details about what I should be doing next seem not so important as just meeting with God, and drawing closer to him. He knows what's around the corner, and knowing that he will be with me in all my travels makes the journey a lot less stressful, and actually quite exciting.
Thank you Lord for revealing this wonderful truth. Help me now to follow you, to move with your Presence, and to enjoy the warmth of your presence by night and the peace of your protection by day. Holy Spirit, my constant companion, lead me on.
The Lord watches over me— the Lord is my shade at my right hand; the sun will not harm me by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep me from all harm— he will watch over my life; the Lord will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:5-8 (NIV, personalised)