How did God lead His people in the desert? Did He sit down with Moses and map out a strategic plan for how they were going to systematically march on Canaan and take it over? No. God led His people with two fundamental principles. If we would simply follow these principles, much of the stress in our lives would be removed.
1. Live principle centered lives. God established the Law for His people so that the people could be whole and holy. It was a simple plan…obey and live. Admit that God has a much better plan for living than you do, give up trying to run your own life, and submit to the authority of scripture and the Holy Spirit which is at work in your life.
2. Follow the cloud. The first time this principle really came through clearly for me was when I read about it in Gordon MacDonald’s book Ordering Your Private World. He talked about the difference between being driven and being led. A driven person has specific, tangible objectives that he has set and has attached his self-worth and significance in life contingent upon the completion of these goals. He is driven to accomplish these goals at all costs. A led person has yielded her life to the authority of God. She wakes up in the morning and says, “Lord, how may I serve you today? What are my orders?” This doesn’t mean that she isn’t organized or doesn’t set goals and objectives for the plan of her week (that is a matter of personality type and time management issues). The difference between being driven and being led is one of the attitude of the heart.
In the book of Numbers the people of Israel did not know where they were going. None of them had ever been there before. They were trusting that God had their best interest in mind, so they simply “followed the cloud.” As individuals, as families, and as a church, we need to continually check our hearts against these two principles. Are we submitting ourselves to the authority of God each day? Are we creating space in our lives, both individually and corporately, to clear out the clutter and distraction so that we can hear the voice of God and discern which direction the cloud is moving?
May we be a people that can see the cloud of God, discern where it is moving and, no matter where it goes or what the cost, may we have the courage to follow it.