The Israelites Are to Camp Round

Manna

Reference: Numbers 2:2

What are the lessons we can learn from the way the Israelites camped?

First of all, it was not their idea, but it was God’s command. The Israelites camped in a particular way because God so commanded it. So it was obedience in action. We also need to note that God is interested in having order and discipline in his ranks. He is the God of order (very much evident in the vast universe) and not of confusion.

Secondly, the Tent of Meeting having the Ark of God occupied the central position. The tribes camped under their banners and standards round the Tent of Meeting. It meant that God was to have central place in the life of the Israelites. We also need to make sure that our lives are centred on God and all our activities radiate out of our relationship with God.

Thirdly, there was a readiness in this arrangement that made it easy for them to move at a moment’s notice (Numbers 10:11—28). God wants his people to be ready at all times. This preparedness is what Jesus also wanted to tell us through the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins who waited for the bridegroom. The five wise virgins were well prepared. Are you?

Finally, there was the unmistakable stamp of God and his presence in the midst of the camp. This was evident to those who observed the Israelites and the way they encamped. The king of Midian hired Balaam a prophet to put curses on Israel. The Bible records that when he saw the Israelites camped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he blessed them instead of cursing. The very sight of the Israelites camped under God’s guidance and command was inspiring in itself (see Numbers 24:2, 3).

So let us strive to make our lives orderly and having discipline under God’s guidance and leadership. May God occupy the central position in all our life’s engagements. Then people will be moved to see God in our midst. Amen.

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