“As soon as the sacred tent was set up, a thick cloud appeared and covered it. The cloud was there each day, and during the night, a fire could be seen in it. The LORD used this cloud to tell the Israelites when to move their camp and where to set it up again. As long as the cloud covered the tent, the Israelites did not break camp. But when the cloud moved, they followed it, and wherever it stopped, they camped and stayed there.” (Num 9:15-18, CEV)
People did not just camp with God during the time after the Exodus, but they also camped with God during Jesus’ day. At times Jesus would stay in other’s houses, but often He would camp out with His disciples. He would walk into the wilderness at night to pray to His Father. Whenever His Father told Him to break camp and go to the next place, He would. He did what He saw His Father doing. If the disciples wanted to be with Jesus “where the action was”, they had to camp with Him!
All throughout history there have been times and seasons to buy, to build, to vacation, to grieve, etc. For Israel, there was a season to labor and grieve, but when God showed up, it was time to lay aside everything they knew and were familiar with and go camping with God. There was a time and a season for Peter, James, and John to fish, clean, and mend nets, but when Jesus showed up it was time to camp with God.
Jesus told a parable along these lines when He was with His disciples: “Once a man gave a banquet and invited many people. When the time came for the banquet, he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’ But they responded with a chorus of excuses. The first said to him, ‘I’ve just bought a field, and I have to go out and see it. Please accept my apologies.’ Another said, ‘I’ve just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to test them out. Please accept my apologies.’ Still another said, ‘I have just gotten married, so I can’t come.’ The slave came and reported these things to his master. “Then the owner of the house, in a rage, told his slave, ‘Quick, go out into the streets and alleys of the city; and bring in the poor, the disfigured, the blind and the crippled!’ The slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ The master said to the slave, ‘Go out to the country roads and boundary walls, and insistently persuade people to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet!’ “ (Luke 14:16-24, CJB)
I’ve often heard people say that there is nothing wrong with what the original invitees were doing, and that assessment would be correct, except THEY WERE OUT OF TIME! We are entering a season change. Really, we are in the midst of the shifting of an era. Very soon the heavenly shofar will sound inviting us to attend the banquet of all eternity. Are we seeing the shift? Are we making our garments pure and ready so we can be in attendance or are we too busy to discern the signs of the times? We are experiencing a deluge of prophecies, seeing blood moons, harbingers, and bizarre weather. The earth is corrupt and filled with violence as it was in the days of Noah. What makes us think that everything will continue as it always has?
How many are trapped in the trauma of their past or camped out in the glory days of the past? Has the pillar of cloud and fire moved on without you? Are you overly concerned with buying, selling, romance, and/or vacations so that you will make your excuses when the invitation comes? I believe that it is time to shift our focus, make all this temporal stuff secondary, and go camping with God!