Saturday, January 26, 2013

What Are You Looking At?

For those unfamiliar with the account of the Israelites moving from Egypt, through the desert, to the Land of Promise, in the interest of time and space let's just say the gist is this:

God was leading His people from a dark past of bondage to a future of promise and freedom.  He chose the man, Moses to do this, and God, Himself actively remained with the Israelites in the form of a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, guiding and protecting them. (Ex. 19ff)

Numbers 9:18 (NLT) says, " In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle."  So, the other day, just as I was wondering if life was ever going to move from "the holiday chaos" back to normal hum-drum, I was reading this passage.  "Oh, how nice would that be?!" I thought.  "A simple life...following the Lord's direction.  Quiet.  Still.  Waiting for His voice to lead.  So 'in tune' with Him and what He desires for me."

My second thought?  "What is so different from where I am (or should be) today?"  I wake up every morning and dress myself for the day.  If what I wear does not deliberately reflect who I am in Christ, whose fault is that?  I do my devotions.  If my mind wanders elsewhere, or I rush through, who is to blame?  I go to work.  Did the Israelite women not have children to tend? or meals to prepare?  If my workday is not intentionally laced with thoughts of my Lord, who is at fault?  My battles and victories, all begin and end with Him, IF I look up.  What role did God play in all this?  He was guiding, protecting, being.  "I AM", He says is His name.  He was no more present with His people in the wilderness than He is with His people today!

If the Israelites had paid that cloud no mind at all...?  If they'd closed their eyes, busied themselves, never looked up, or had pretended not to see -- maybe even thought, "I'll catch up; just let me finish this last batch of latkes" -- they'd be right where I tend to find myself some days.  Unintentional and unfed.  Distracted and displaced.  Dodging relationship and repose with each decision or commitment hastily made, without first looking up.

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