God wants to teach His Children total obedience upon Him to follow any direction He gives, no matter how strange it might seem. The more we understand the Character of God, the more we can be absolutely sure we can trust Him with every detail of our lives.
Just as He does with His Children today, God demanded this same obedience from the Israelites as He was leading them out of Egypt and into the rich and bountiful land He had promised them.
Numbers 33:1-49 MSG
1-2 “These are the camping sites in the journey of the People of Israel after they left Egypt, deployed militarily under the command of Moses and Aaron. Under God’s instruction Moses kept a log of every time they moved, camp by camp:
3-4 They marched out of Rameses the day after the Passover. It was the fifteenth day of the first month. They marched out heads high and confident. The Egyptians, busy burying their firstborn whom God had killed, watched them go. God had exposed the nonsense of their gods.”
Verses 5-47 lists each of the 40 places they camped, though the Bible does not say how long they stayed in each place. They would have had to move camp at times so their animals would have food for grazing, but I’m sure God told them to move several times when it made absolutely no sense to their way of thinking.
Verses 48-49 gives the details of the last time they moved before they crossed the Jordan River to take control of the land God gave them. ”After they left the mountains of Abarim they camped on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho. On the Plains of Moab their camp stretched along the banks of the Jordan from Beth Jeshimoth to Abel Shittim (Acacia Meadow).”
All 40 times each of the tribes knew the exact order in which they were to march. The Levites were to take down the movable Tabernacle, carry it, and set it back up. The other tribes had a certain job to do in moving their personal property and livestock, so everything would be done in correct order. God had given to Moses an awesome organizational system in which they were to do things. Can you imagine the chaos of several million people trying to pack and move at the same time if they had not been given an exact order in which to do it?
The following is their Marching Order that was to be done the same way each time:
Bearing the Ark of the Covenant
Numbers 4: 15; 10: 33
ARMY OF JUDAH
Numbers 10: 14 – 16
THE MERARITES (A Priest Family)
Numbers 10: 17
with four wagons drawn by eight oxen, bearing the boards, bars, pillars, and sockets of the tabernacle, and the court pillars and their sockets
THE GERSHONITES (A Priest Family
Numbers 10: 17
with two wagons, drawn by four oxen, bearing the curtains, coverings, and hangings of the tabernacle, and the hangings of the court
THE ARMY OF REUBEN
Numbers 10: 18, 20
KOHATHITES (A Priest Family)
Numbers 10: 21
carrying the sacred furniture of the sanctuary and the court
THE ARMY OF EPHRAIM
Numbers 10: 22, 24
THE ARMY OF DAN
Numbers 10: 25 – 27
Then God spoke again to Moses BEFORE they crossed the Jordan and told him specific things to tell the people. These words are written in verses 50-56:
50 God spoke to Moses on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho:
51-52 “Tell the People of Israel: When you cross the Jordan into the country of Canaan, drive out the native population before you, destroy their carved idols, destroy their cast images, level their worship-mounds.
53-54 so that you take over the land and make yourself at home in it; I’ve given it to you. It’s yours. Divide up the land by lot according to the size of your clans: large clans will be large tracts of land; small clans will get smaller tracts of land. However the lot falls, that’s it. Divide it up according to your ancestral tribes.
55-56 But if you don’t drive out the native population, everyone you let stay there will become a cinder in your eye and a splinter in your foot. They’ll give you endless trouble right in your own backyards. And I’ll start treating you the way I planned to treat them.”
Before they ever crossed the Jordan to enter into the land God had promised them, He gave them exact instructions on what they were to do. They were to drive the people out that were living there so those people and their heathen gods would not draw the Israelites away from the One True God.
God told them in advance He would be with them every step of the way. He personally told them they did not have to be afraid in any way about taking over the land He had given them. God wanted the land to be in its best form when they took over living there, not all grown up with weeds. He wanted to bless them in every way possible.
Imagine what Israel could have become had they just followed his instructions – blessings from God beyond their wildest dreams!
Many times we don’t like to walk in obedience to God’s direction because we can’t see a logical outcome or it just doesn’t make sense to our way of thinking. I’m sure the Israelites may not have always thought it the best thing to move 40 different times either, but they obeyed when God said it was time to move.
It would have been an awesome thing if each generation had discipled and instilled in the next generation what it meant to walk in obedience to and serve the ONE TRUE GOD absolutely and completely. None of their enemies would have been able to win a single battle against them.
Instead, they obeyed in the beginning but over the years fell away from God and started to worship the heathen idols of the people around them who were not Israelites. They seemed to forget that God had told them that this was the very thing that would ultimately bring destruction to their blessed lives.
If you know God has told you to do something, He has a distinct purpose for telling you to do so. Even if you don’t understand, make it a point to always walk in obedience to His direction.
When God says something it will happen. It might take a few months or a few years, but it definitely will happen, just as the Israelites found to their dismay and horror.
Make it a point to always walk in obedience to God even if you don’t understand what He has told you to do. Just do your part and leave everything else up to Him!
This post written by Cathy Deaton.
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