Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, resting upon it, the Israelites would remain in camp and would not set out; but when it lifted they would set out. At the command of the Lord they would camp, and at the command of the Lord they would set out. Numbers 9:22-23a NRSV
This is perfect obedience - staying as long as the cloud was over the tabernacle but leaving as soon as the cloud lifted from the tabernacle.
However, this obedience would not have been possible if the Israelites had not been extremely organized. Every tribe had a particular place in the march and stayed there while camped. You knew where you were located during resting and traveling. Also, everything was portable at a moment's notice. Even the holiest of the holy items had a particular place and particular Levites to carry them. In fact, the Levite tribe was broken down into clans with each given a specific job for the march and the setting up of the tabernacle.
This perfect obedience also had to be somewhat stressful. No one knew when the cloud would lift or if it would stay come morning. Even being well-organized would not have taken that stress away. This reminds me of being an on-call chaplain in a hospital several years ago. You never knew when that beeper was going to go off and what you would find when you got to the patient in the hospital. A similar feeling of stress must be felt by others who are in a helping profession: firemen, parametics, police, and emergency room doctors. You could have hours of nothing and then days of constant activity. For the Israelites, they just had to wait on God's leadership.
What about you? Are you waiting on God's leadership? Or have you given up from the stress and the lack of organization?
God, you want to lead us but we don't seem to have the patience you ask for. Help us to be perfectly obedient to you and your will. In Jesus' name. Amen
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims