So for 2 years the Israelites have been encamped at the base of Mt. Sinai – receiving instructions from the Lord regarding everything from daily hygiene to how they will worship. The purpose (as we have discussed) was to set these people apart as distinct from the world in which they were going to be living. God knew the best way to live – and He was ensuring that HIS people lived that way as an example to the nations around them.

In chapter 9 we see a few final instructions before the people set off on their 38 year journey through the wilderness. God reminds them once again about keeping the Passover feast (foreshadowing of Jesus on the cross) – and then gives us some interesting details:

At the Lord’s command the Israelites journeyed, and at [His] command they encamped.” – Num 9:18

From the very beginning God’s people have been instructed to follow Him and obey His every word. While the trek through the wilderness was riddled with various threats and dangers, they would remain safe and secure as long as they followed His lead at every turn. When the cloud rested in the camp – they remained where they were (even if it lasted several days). When the cloud moved – they moved.

Jesus did this as well.

So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn]. “ – John 5:19

Jesus was the perfect representation of obedience to the Father. Just as the Israelites of old – He lived a life of total submission to the Father – only saying and doing what He said and did.

Finally – after being told in what order to march out of camp each day (in the perfect organization and order of the Lord) – the Israelites set out… only to quickly fall back into their complaining ways. Despite having been sustained by miraculous means in the desert for the past 2 years – they began to murmur and grumble about this miraculous food they were eating – longing for the days when life was “good”. (Like when they were slaves???).

The anger of the Lord is ignited against them – and He withdraws His hand of protection from over them – allowing fire, death and disease to creep into the camp with it’s destructive results. He fed them meat until it came out of their ears and noses!

I point is quite clear for us all. Our lives apart from the Lord were pointless and empty. The fleeting glitter of the gold of the world seemed to answer our every care – yet in reality it only left us wanting more and more, never satisfied. While eating choice food – we were also slaves to a system which was consuming us. But life with God provides security and provision that satisfies into our inner most depths. The gold of the Lord will not only purchase all that we need and desire in THIS world – but also in life – part two.

YET – when we gaze longingly back toward the life we “used to live” – scampering back into Egypt each night to thrill ourselves in it’s tantalizing dance – we only subject ourselves to endless misery – inviting the “rewards” of those choices to enter our camp… bringing with it fire, death, and disease.

Shall we now examine what we watch… listen to… read?


Be Fruitful & Multiply,