This morning I read in Numbers 9 about the cloud that covered the tabernacle as the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness. When the cloud settled over the tabernacle, the people stayed inside the camp. They did not set out to continue their journey. But when the cloud lifted, the Israelites moved. They set forth in the direction God sent them.
I read this: “Whether it was two days, a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out.”
Can you imagine the anticipation? The waiting? The wondering? How strange it must have felt to stay in place for a month or longer.
It’s not just COVID that has me thinking about being kept in place. I go through seasons (usually in the summer) of feeling reigned in from public events. I spend a significant amount of time praying, reading my Bible, and journaling in solitude. I stay in place. This has happened before. It’s what I know is a season of preparation for when God sends me out.
So when I read about the cloud that would lift to signal moving, I take note of the time. Consider the duration here. We don’t know what God knows. God sets the times for our movement. God may choose to keep a person in place for two days, a month, or longer.
I keep recalling Philippians 2:13 and this strange little truth: “For it is God who is at work in you to will and to act in order to fulfill to his good purpose.” I think of the Holy Spirit as our covering–our cloud that indicates when to move and when to stay. He will work to get us moving when the time is right.
And it might be in two days. It might be next month. It might be much longer.
In any case, we know God will fulfill His purpose.