Are we there yet? This is a question asked by children and adults when on a long trip. It is hard being patient and when the individual does not know the route, it makes for a long, sometimes boring, trip. The journey of the Israelites in Numbers 9 is part of the scripture readings for the week.
In Numbers 9:15-23, the nation of Israel is given clear and specific guidance through a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. There is no doubt as to where they were supposed to travel. The cloud and fire showed them when they needed to stop and stay put and when they needed to pack up and move forward. The hard part was that they never knew how long they would stay in one place, so packing and unpacking was stressful. They could be in one place overnight or for a month at a time.
I do not know how I would handle this kind of living. I think my anxiety level would be high as I waited to see if the cloud was moving. Should I unpack more items, or should I only use a few? Is the cloud going to move or not? I think this would bring a great deal of anxiety to everyone.
Then there is the question, what is God doing? We are staying in one place for a while, so what does that mean? We are moving every day, what does that mean? What does God have in store for us?
This passage in Numbers comes after the grand story of the exodus. The Israelites had been dramatically rescued from slavery and oppression in Egypt by the mighty works of God through Moses. First, it was through the 10 plagues and then later through a miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. They were on their way back home, to the land that God promised to their ancestor Abraham.
The journey to the Promised Land took years. God has been faithful in leading the people, but why did it take such a long time? It took time because God was teaching the people patience, trust, obedience, and God’s provision.
While there are times I wish I had a cloud to lead me in the right direction, I know that I must be still and listen to the voice of the Creator. In my times of devotion and praise, I must lift my heart to God and stay still long enough to hear His voice. It is in these times of waiting and listening where God continues to teach us patience, trust, obedience, and God’s provision.
But are we there yet?
Be patient, Beloved.