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Lessons from the Encampment

Introduction:  Here we find a group of people who have escaped the wrath of God on Egypt by putting their faith in the shed blood of a Passover lamb.  They are in the midst of a strange place traveling to a land that flows with milk and honey.  God has much to teach them.  In Numbers 1, God instructs Moses to number all of the males from 20 years old and upward.  These are those who are able to go forth to war.  In Numbers 2, we find that God is giving instructions for how the Israelites are to camp.  It is in this section that we will find a few principles that will help us today as we travel through our own wilderness.

  1. God is Concerned with Details
    1. In this passage we find that God has a specific place and order by which the Israelites are to encamp.  God gives instructions for the location for each tribe to encamp and who they are to be next to and who is to march in what order when the camp moves.
    2. In Numbers 20, God wasnt satisfied that Moses went to the rock to get water, because instead of speaking to the rock Moses smote it two times with a rod
    3. In 2 Samuel 6, God wasnt just pleased that the Israelites were bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem.  They created a new way to bring it back and when it about fell a man named Uzzah touched it trying to keep it from falling and God killed him because he wasnt supposed to touch it.
    4. In Acts 16, God wasnt just so happy that Paul wanted to preach the gospel that He let Paul go where he wanted to go for the Bible says that they were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.
    5. In Acts 5, God wasnt so overwhelmed by the fact that Ananias and Sapphira gave part of the money from their land, that He let them get away with it for they were supposed to give it all.  They may have even given 90%, but that isnt the issue.
    6. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, God isnt satisfied with you not saying things that are displeasing to the Lord, but He even wants your thoughts to be brought into obedience to Christ.
  2. Your Rebellion Affects Others
    1. Say that the tribe of Dan no longer liked the North and wanted to move to the South.  Then in order for Asher to stay next to Dan as the Bible says they also would have to move.
    2. Say that Judah decided all of the sudden that they werent leading the march anymore.  Whoever leads is not following the command of God anymore.
  3. God Calls Some to a Special Work
    1. In this passage we find that God has a specific job for the Levites in ministering to the things of the tabernacle.  Even there the Levites are divided up into different responsibilities.  The tribe of Judah is called upon by God to lead the march as the camp moves from one location to another.
    2. The tribe of Reuben may have been upset because God chose Judah to lead the march.  It could be that some of the men in the tribe of Reuben were better soldiers than the men of Judah, but God chose for Judah to lead the march.  It could be that some of the men of Judah didnt want the responsibility of leading the march but that is what God called them to do and that was their way of being obedient to the command of God.
    3. Christians get into some of the biggest messes when they are trying to do something that God hasnt called them to do 1 Corinthians 7:20. God has a plan for each Christian and obedience to that plan is the most satisfying thing a Christian can do.
  4. God Desires the Fellowship of All of His People
    1. God didnt create the garden of Eden because He needed somewhere to walk
    2. God didnt walk with Enoch because He was bored
    3. God didnt create the holy of holies and the mercy seat because He needed somewhere to sit
    4. Christ wasnt weeping over Jerusalem because they were in bondage to the Romans
    5. Christ isnt in the midst of the Church in Revelation 1 for lack of something better to do
    6. Rather God is always looking to be in the midst of His people and desires the fellowship of the same.

Conclusion:  Have you been making light of the details of your life?  Have you been disobedient to God in those areas?  Have you considered what your disobedience in those areas is doing to those around you?  Does God have a calling on your life that you have been fighting?  Have you surrendered to take minister concerning the tabernacle or lead the march from one camp to another?  In all of this has God been getting the time of fellowship with you that He desires?  Maybe tonight you need to make a decision to be obedient to the plan of God for your life and get back to enjoying the sweet fellowship with the God in the midst of the camp.