Monday, August 16, 2010

God and a Campsite

Numbers. Not the kind used in arithmetic. But the book of the Bible that gives the account of the numbering of the children of Israel. As I opened my Bible, I can't say I was especially excited to dive into this portion of scripture. The genealogies of the twelve tribes of Israel are given in great detail, complete with names that are sure to challenge any tongue on the planet. I took a sip of coffee, and no doubt, began slaughtering the names on the pages before me.

But hold on, it gets interesting. The Lord didn't stop at merely numbering the fighting men of Israel. He broke them down into groups, and gave each group a specific territory to occupy around his tabernacle. If you enjoy camping, this section was written just for you. Imagine you and your family along with 599,000 of your closest friends and their families all camping together! My, the evening sky must have been ablaze with all of those campfires! I wonder if they roasted any s'mores? It's been estimated that the campsite alone was well beyond twelve square miles. Can you picture it?

Once the Israelites were camped around His tabernacle, the Lord laid out the responsibilities of the Levites, those who were to minister in His house. At first glance, it may be difficult to identify with a huge group of foreigners setting up camp somewhere in a desert far, far away. To understand the importance each family played as they performed their role. But as the chapters of scripture came alive in my mind, I saw a God of order. A God who had a specific place for each tribe to dwell. A God who placed the tribes around a central focus, the tabernacle, so they'd be inspired to look to Him and make Him the center of their lives. A God of order, who was preparing them for the next task that lay ahead: conquering the promised land.

I can relate to order. I admit I'm a far cry from the most fastidious housekeeper, but I love it when my house is clean and orderly. There's just something about the saying, "A place for everything, and everything in its place." When the dishes are put away, and the clutter is picked up, it's easier to focus. I can begin concentrating on the next task the Lord has for me. When I'm in the place that God has called me to, and I'm focusing on Him, the book of Proverbs states, "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established" (Proverbs 16:3; KJV).

Looking back on my life, I see the orderly steps God has planned for me. I can identify the love for reading and writing. The opportunities I've had to write articles for different publications. The not-so-coincidental meeting with a friend who encouraged me to start a blog. The writing classes to hone my skills. All part of my orderly God's plan, to take me one step closer to conquering the 'promised land' He has for me.

Do you see God as a God of order in your life? Have you made Him your central focus? Do you realize He's preparing you for an important task? Trust Him to order your steps to bring Him maximum glory!


  1. "slaughtering the names" - LOLOLOL!! Ain't that the truth?!

    I know just what you mean about having some sort of order. You just feel somehow on "top" of things. Unfortuntely, I never quite seem to get there. ;o}

  2. Very good! Great use of Numbers to show God's care for his people then and now. Yes, I believe God uses the apparent random events of our lives for a great purpose. Good post.

  3. Every day I pray, please God keep me in the CENTER of your will for me. It's such a struggle somedays. And I'm not sure he always appreciates my praying without ceasing. I have lots to say and sometimes I speak in haste. Ack!

  4. I was always bored by the book of Numbers and mostly avoided it. However in my most recent rereadings of the Bible I began to see it as more interesting as you did.

    Likewise, God has always been there for me, but I usually took it for granted. Now what He has done to bring structure and protection to my life becomes more evident and I find myself with a clearer focus upon Him.

    Tossing It Out

  5. This last year has been a journey of ordering for me. I found new focus and direction, and I also found out how to pray for God's order in my life and the life of my family. Since then, doors have been opened and I can see my hearts desire closer than ever before.
    Great post - I love camping!

  6. I love that quality about the Lord, and it just affirms so much about His sovereignty and interest in our lives and His plan for us to be part of His story. ... But I don't think camping with that many "friends" sounds fun! :) That really puts it into perspective!

  7. Hi Maria -

    I don't always see how the puzzle piece I'm living now fits into the big picture. Often, I can see it in retrospect. Then I can say, "Ah yes, now I understand!"

    Susan :)

  8. Merana - I think of it as a discipline! And some days I don't quite make it, either! Not to worry, for in the words of Miss Stacy from Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes." Have a great evening!

    Warren - I always appreciate your encouraging words. I love how God shows us things in His Word from a totally different perspective, if we only let Him! Have a good evening and God bless!

  9. T. Anne - Talk about blog topics for the rest of the week - staying at the center of God's will and our need for tongue control! Thanks for your honesty. God bless you, friend!

    Lee - You bring up a good point - it is easy to take God's structure and protection for granted. How refreshing to be able to look back and really see how He has orchestrated things in our lives to move us closer to the goal He has for us! Blessings to you!

  10. Jan - Thanks for sharing! I'd love to hear more about how you pray for God's order in your life and that of your family. God's blessings to you! Enjoy your evening!

    Julie - I thought of you and your camping experience after I visited your blog today! I'm sure you relished your alone time and were greatful you weren't spending it with close to a million friends. Have a fabulous week!

    Susan - Your comment is right on. I suppose it's all part of living by faith. If we could see it all, we wouldn't need faith. Thanks for sharing! God bless you this week!

  11. Great post!

    As He orchestrates, I always claim Prov. 3: 5-6.

  12. Maria, such a God-given post. And I have ALWAYS avoided the book of Numbers like the plague, because every time I start it, I feel my attention leaving and going to everything but that book. However, I now have a new perspective. Going to read in it beginning today. Thanks friend. :)

    And a lot of times in my life I have stepped out of God's will, reassuring myself that God wants me to do this or that. Because I feel that is an answer to my prayers. It's so hard at times isn't it? I love Anne's comment. I too long to stay in the center of the MASTER'S will all of my life. I surely can't rely on Robyn. She leads me down the WRONG path every single time.;) Hugs to you Maria. Have a very blessed day, my friend.

  13. I see it happening in my life---when I look back there is such a sense of order even in all of my chaos. with the writing as well-- God's hand is on it all.

  14. Hi Maria,
    As aways your post is inspiring and just what I need today! Perfect timing!
    The past 15 months for me have been so chaotic with so many unexpected storms. In all of this God's hand and timing has been so perfect! He brought me painfully back to where I should have been and I am thankful!
    Enjoy your week.
    Blessings and hugs.

  15. I'm reading Numbers right now. Almost finished. There are some fascinating happenings weaved into this book.

    I really can't imagine camping with that many people! Not my style at all!