To Find a Resting Place for Us
Numbers 10:33 “And they departed from the mount of the Lord three day’s journey; and the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord went before them in the three day’s journey, to search out a resting place for them.”
Israel is on the move….heading toward the promised rest in Canaan.
They had just been at Sinai for about a year….receiving the Ten Commandments, and the Law….and building the Tabernacle according to the pattern, God gave Moses on the mount.
But now the Tabernacle had been built and God’s presence in the cloud by day and the fiery cloud by night, was upon it (Exodus 40:33-38)…..and it was time to go forward.
(The narrative of their journey, goes from Exodus to Numbers….Leviticus being the book about the sacrifices, and laws)
But how to go? And where were the best places to rest, on the Way?
Moses turned to God, and when they first left Sinai, the Ark of the Lord led them forward….for three days.
This would not be repeated, until the priests carried it before all the people,….at the Jordan River…..to cross into Canaan.
It was a unique time, for Israel….
…..they weren’t just a large family, now,………but a nation under the Kingship of God.
He had given them the Ten Commandments, that they might know His holiness, and their weakness….
…and given them the laws of His kingdom….concerning sacrifices for sin, for consecration, for tithe, for rejoicing before their God….
…and concerning how they were to treat each other, and strangers.
So now the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord led them:
Numbers 10:35-36 “And it came to pass, when the Ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.
And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.”
They were now Israel. They had promised to obey His commandments (Exodus 24:6-8)…….and follow His leading….
….so for three days (interesting number, for it is the number of the Godhead, and of the days Christ was in the tomb, before the Father raised Him up.)…..God’s Presence led them forward, “to search out a resting place”.
[And hasn’t Christ Jesus done this for us? After we are born again, we are conscious of His Presence going with us…and giving us rest….His resting-place in His peace?
John 14:23, 27 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”]
Moses had said, “Rise up, Lord”, pointing to the One Who would always lead them aright…..they were to follow.
And when the cloud stopped, he said, “Return, O Lord unto….Israel”.
(It is that word, “Return”, that God spoke again and again to Israel….when they had turned away from following Him….right before He sent them into Captivity. In Jeremiah there are at least ten times He calls for them to “return”. Also there is the promise given that He will give them a heart to “return” to Him.)
The Ark led them this time.
But after this, they would be led differently: there was six tribes, beginning with Judah (the tribe Jesus Christ would be born in); then the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, then six more tribes, in a procession;…..going through the wilderness
Numbers 9:15, 17-18 “And on the day that the Tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the Tabernacle namely, the Tent of the Testimony: and at even there was upon the Tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
And when the cloud was taken up from the Tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.
At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the Tabernacle they rested in their tents.”
Little by little, The Lord was teaching them that He is their God,…their King,….their Leader,……and He would be in their midst.
When the cloud by day and the fiery cloud by night stopped….they stopped. And when it rose up and went….they went.
Numbers 9:22 “Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the Tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.”
This was the way they traveled all the time, as a nation, from Mt. Sinai to Canaan, their permanent resting place.
(Yes, there were failures, but God was faithful)
We, too, are traveling. We are on a journey of our lives. What has He taught us?
Have we come to know Him as our God? Our Lord and Savior? Our King?
And He is so much more: our Guide, our Strength, our Peace, our Light….because He is with us….Alway (Matthew 28:20)
He knows the Way we should go….and He knows how to show us. And He will teach us to know Him more, as we go along.
It is not a “cloud by day or fiery cloud by night” where we can see it……
But by His Holy Spirit within us, and His Word,……which brings us to our permanent resting-place.