Order in the wilderness

The wilderness is by nature an unruly place. After all, the root of the word is “wild.” When something is wild, it is significantly unpredictable and uncontrollable. That’s the nature of the wilderness. When it becomes something less than this, it can be a wonderful thing, but we no longer refer to it as wilderness. It is something that has been tamed, settled and civilized.

As Israel prepared to begin their trek through the wilderness, God organized the nation. He gave them a law. A census was conducted, and Israel was numbered according to tribes and as a nation. God gave Moses instructions on how the tribes were to be arranged when they camped and what order they would leave when they broke camp.

While God performed some miracles, He made no attempt to organize the wilderness—He instead organized His people. While this suited His holy purposes, it’s also blessed Israel. The liberation of the nation that began in Egypt continued through these arrangements. This was true despite the fact that the nation didn’t always appreciate them. 

That brings us to our current situation. It’s obvious that everyone is itching to get out and about to a greater degree. That’s understandable. But it’s also obvious that we’re going to have to return life as we knew it in phases rather than all at once. This means we need to continue to listen to those in the know, recognize what is right for someone else might not be for me, and keep looking out for each other. We are our brother’s keeper.

When Israel set up camp, there were three tribes to the north, south, east and west. In the center of everything, was the tabernacle with the cloud presence of God. Let’s remember that God is in the middle of our wilderness and act accordingly.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing right. (James 2:8)

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