~~i want to be everything you dreamed when you called my name~~

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Prayer and Obedience

I've been thinking a lot about God's direction and leading in my life these last few days - and the Lord keeps bringing me to the Israelites. It was such a simple proposition for the Israelites to know what God wanted - He made His intentions crystal clear. When the cloud of His glory settled down to cover the Tent of Meeting, the people stopped, set up camp and stayed put until further notice. When the cloud lifted from the Tent of Meeting, the people pulled up stakes and followed wherever it led them. God made His intentions even more explicit at night, when the hovering cloud appeared like fire.

With a cloud by day - and a fire by night - I keep movin' on...

Although there was no advance warning, no date circled on a calendar, the people of God never had to wonder when to go. The cloud might remain in one place for a year, a month, two days or only a few hours (Numbers 9:21-22). God directed His people to stay or forge ahead whenever He chose - and they obeyed, every time.

You see - as straightforward as God's instructions were to the Israelites, understanding His desires today can be fully as simple. He never intended that discovering or doing His will should be a complicated exercise. He gave us His Word, the Bible, as our map and guidebook. God wants us to believe in Jesus (1 John 3:23), and trust that He will lead us exactly where He wants us.

With a cloud by day - and a fire by night - I keep movin' on...

There doesn't need to be any doubt or guessing game for us any more than there was for the sojourning Israelites. We take God at His word, trusting Jesus to remove the sin from our lives and repair the damage it has done. We take God at His word, and trust that He will lead us exactly where He wants us. We take God at His word...and trust.

Another of God's explicit commands is that we love each other. In the words of Jesus, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends. You are my friends if you do what I command" (John 15:12-14). When we walk in God's love, we do so all of the time: "If anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did" (1 John 2:5-6). Walking in God's love requires obeying His commands. And God reveals His commands to us in the secret place.

There's no more speculation about whether a cloud will remain stationary or be pushed along by a sudden gust of wind - what a great sense of freedom! We are called to listen - and hearing comes from intimacy with the Father - and intimacy with the Father comes from conversing with Him. Finding His will becomes so much easier when we are walking in communion with Him every step of our journey. We at times express so much concern about finding the will of God, but we often make this quest much more complicated than it needs to be. God's will is so clear cut that we often cloud the issue with all kinds of caveats and extenuating possibilities - instead of simply praying, listening for His sweet voice, and obeying.

With a cloud by day - and a fire by night - I keep movin' on...

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