July 22

Today's ReadingPsalms 31Acts 23:16-35

Today's Thoughts: Before You Set Out

When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD's order and did not set out.  Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when lifted set out.Numbers 9:19-22 (NIV)

The words “set out” are so prevalent in this section of Scripture. When God commanded, the Israelites set out in obedience. If God did not command, the Israelites stayed encamped. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”  As believers, we are commanded to follow Jesus. Many times we act as if God should be following our desires, our goals and our agendas. Jesus doesn’t follow us. He commands us to be obedient and follow Him. We have the presence of the Lord dwelling within us. We can be led like the Israelites by watching for His lead and listening to His voice through the Word of God.

There are times He tell us to “go” and there are times He tells us “to be still and know that He is God.” Following Jesus leads us to the tops of mountains as well as through the valley of Baca. But He is there, leading and guiding and loving us through it. We will learn to weep with Him as we see things that hurt His heart and rejoice with Him as we embrace the things that bring Him joy. One thing is for certain, He will never leave you or forsake you. Our tendency is to be tempted to leave Him, never the other way around.

Today, be sure that you spend time in His word, listening for His counsel and ask Him to help you follow His lead. Make His footsteps your pathway as you turn to Jesus throughout the day in obedience before you set out.

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