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God Leads . . .

God Leads . . .
      . . . Numbers 9:15-23
"On the day the tabernacle was set up the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and it appeared like fire above the tabernacle from evening until morning."Numbers 9:15 (NKJV)
I couldn't help but sing "God Leads Us Along," as I studied Sunday's lesson.  This quarter we leave the New Testament and visit the Old Testament.  Quarterbacks are switched from Paul to Moses, the author of the first five books of the Old Testament(Pentateuch).  The book of Numbers ("census") allows us to go with the Israelites toward the Promised Land . . . while Deuteronomy ("second law") has us listen to three sermons preached by Moses as he prepared the people to cross over Jordan.
Moses' purpose in writing was to provide a historical record of the Israelites journey in the wilderness, their refusal to enter the land, their subsequent time in the wilderness, and the deaths of the unfaithful generation . . . except Caleb and Joshua.  Moses death concludes the book of Deuteronomy.
THE PRESENCE (Numbers 9:15-16)
After the tabernacle was set up, the "cloud by day" and the "pillar of fire" by night revealed God's presence.  This portable sanctuary had specific instructions for the various furnishings.  The "tent of the testimony" allude to the Ten Commandments placed in the Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark of the Covenant with the Decalogue signified symbols of God's presence with His people.  The cloud appeared as a pillar of fire at night . . . both symbolizing God leading His people to move or stay stationary.
THE PRACTICE (Numbers 9:17-22)
At conversion, we are baptized with the Holy Spirit who lives within us. The Holy Spirit convicts, opens and closes doors of opportunity, and helps us study God's Word.  The words "set up" convey the image of "pulling up tent pegs."  The Israelites were a semi-nomadic, tent-dwelling people.  "To dwell" or "to tabernacle" is the basis for the concept of God's "shekinah glory."  This reminds us that our God leads, listens, communicates, and speaks with authority.
THE PRINCIPLE (Numbers 9:23)
Numbers 9:23 tells us that at the Lord's command, the people camped (or rested).  However, strict rules and regulations applied.  Sin and spiritual impurity must not invade the camp (see Numbers 5:1-4).  Corpses must be buried outside the camp (Leviticus 10:1-5).  Lepers were to reside outside the camp (see Leviticus 13:45-46).  Criminals must be executed outside the camp (see Leviticus 24:23).  Christ was executed as criminal outside the camp.  Believers today must be obedient to our Lord, as He leads His dear people along.
"Some through the waters, some through the flood
Some through the fire, but all through the blood.
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long."
Charles Foxworth
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Education (Ret.)--Louisiana Tech University -- Ruston, Louisiana
Supply Minister for Concord/Union Baptist Association -- Ruston, Louisiana 
eThoughts Team -- Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XIII, No. 11-101G -- Archived 
Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita -- Editor and Publisher
Scripture is taken from THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.  All Rights Reserved. 
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