At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out; they kept the Lord’s charge, according to the command of the Lord through Moses. – Numbers 9:23
This is one of my favorite biblical texts, because it reminds me of the responsibility to follow Christ wherever and whenever He leads; something of which I (apparently) often need to be reminded! I am convinced that the Israelites often wondered why (in some instances) God moved them after only one day and at other times waited a week (or even a month) as they made their way to the Promised Land. After all, these were the same Israelites who criticized God’s absence when He led them to a place without water or food (only to miraculously provide it later).
Years ago, we struggled with the decision to move to Pennsylvania after only three years in Indiana. During the overseas missionary approval process, we wondered why God would prompt us to move to West Africa after only two and a half years in Pennsylvania. Then there was the return to the U.S., the move to Georgia followed by a move to California, then back to Pennsylvania. In all these “movements,” there have also been times when I (like Israel) operated outside of God’s protection, went out on my own, walked a difficult path, and wondered why God wasn’t making my situation better.
Ultimately, we follow, and we serve “wherever” God sends, simply because He has placed us “there.” We go or we stay, because we are convinced that God said so. God is not ambiguous or unclear in His instruction. Jesus said it best, “Come. Follow me.”
Woe to him who claims obedience when it is not due; woe to him that refuses it when it is. – Thomas Carlyle
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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