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Camping – a real test of Faith

September 22, 2023

Numbers 9:22-23
22 Whether it was two days, or 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. 23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses.

Camping means different things to different people. Some enjoy roughing it over desolate trails with bare minimum necessities while others consider camping to be parking their luxurious RV. When I was a teenager, I enjoyed backpacking and tenting but once marriage occurred, that changed. We tried tent camping when our children were young but after a very uncomfortable few days, we decided never to do that again. Depending on each family’s makeup, camping can be an incredible adventure or a ghoulish nightmare.

     Have you ever considered living in a tent permanently? It had been about 12 months since the nation of Israel had experienced a mind-blowing miracle -God had parted the Red Sea to save His people. The first 8 chapters of Numbers are God’s instructions to prepare them for the journey to the Promised land. There were 600,000+ men at fighting age – 20 and over.  This number did not include the Levites nor women and children under the age of 20 – most estimates are close to 3 million people total. All in tents, all living from what God provided. The key to leading an extremely large group is great organization and communication. God placed His tabernacle with the ark of the covenant in the middle of the camp and then 3 tribes of Israel in each direction (Numbers 1). The tribe of Levi was responsible for caring for the tabernacle and sacrifices.

   God gave some detailed directions through His servant Moses about how to live and worship Him BUT He used a cloud & pillar of fire to be their tour guide – their GPS.  Here was the challenge though– God did not tell them ahead of time when they were moving or where they were going.  Imagine camping with your family of 3 million and you don’t know what your plans are for tomorrow. God organized the camp so everyone would keep looking at the tabernacle, over it was the cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night. When it started moving, you moved; when it stopped, you stopped. (kinda like the game “Red light; Green light – ask someone 40 and older for details) Every family had to be ready at all times to follow God’s leading.

  We can glean so many spiritual principles from the nation of Israel’s experience, but I’d like to stress 3.

 1 – Salvation guarantees your entrance into heaven, but we still need to constantly look for God’s direction and provision.

2 – We should be ready and willing to follow His direction, wherever he leads, in His timing

3 – Even if we don’t particularly enjoy our current situation (I am sure there were thousands of families who did not like camping), understand that God has it under control.

     Happy Birthday. Remember as you grow older, grow wiser this next year by following our Lord and our Light.  If you want to really test your faith – go camping.

Dave R

’69 / ’83 Quarryville PA

Birth year / spiritual birth year / hometown

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