Wednesday after Rogate
Scripture: Numbers 10:11-36 (NKJV)
11 Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. 12 And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran. 13 So they started out for the first time according to the command of the LORD by the hand of Moses. 14 The standard of the camp of the children of Judah set out first according to their armies; over their army was Nahshon the son of Amminadab. 15 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Issachar was Nethanel the son of Zuar. 16 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Zebulun was Eliab the son of Helon. 17 Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out, carrying the tabernacle. 18 And the standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their armies; over their army was Elizur the son of Shedeur. 19 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Simeon was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. 20 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Gad was Eliasaph the son of Deuel. 21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. (The tabernacle would be prepared for their arrival.) 22 And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set out according to their armies; over their army was Elishama the son of Ammihud. 23 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Manasseh was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur. 24 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Benjamin was Abidan the son of Gideoni. 25 Then the standard of the camp of the children of Dan (the rear guard of all the camps) set out according to their armies; over their army was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. 26 Over the army of the tribe of the children of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ocran. 27 And over the army of the tribe of the children of Naphtali was Ahira the son of Enan. 28 Thus was the order of march of the children of Israel, according to their armies, when they began their journey.
29 Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the LORD has promised good things to Israel.” 30 And he said to him, “I will not go, but I will depart to my own land and to my relatives.” 31 So Moses said, “Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. 32 And it shall be, if you go with us—indeed it shall be—that whatever good the LORD will do to us, the same we will do to you.” 33 So they departed from the mountain of the LORD on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them for the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them. 34 And the cloud of the LORD was above them by day when they went out from the camp. 35 So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said: “Rise up, O LORD! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You.” 36 And when it rested, he said: “Return, O LORD, to the many thousands of Israel.”
The Lord made His presence known among the children of Israel in their desert wandering with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When His presence lifted and moved on after varying periods of time the Israelites would break camp to follow Him, traveling tribe by tribe, grouped together behind four standards or banners, which were rallying and organization points for the people.
Sadly, in our day the visible Church is divided. However, the real Church, the congregation of saints and true believers, rallies not around standards or banners but around the Cross of Jesus, our Savior. We follow where He leads, picking up our own crosses, trusting in a Lord Who has never, ever backed down on a promise.
Our life journey can be arduous and fraught with danger. Although, of those who traveled 40 years through the wilderness only Caleb and Joshua survived, we go forward fed not with manna and quail, but with the Word of God, strengthened by the holy Sacraments and assured of our destination. The Israelites traveled toward the Promised Land. We travel toward that home that Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare, so that where He is we may be also. He has promised, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10).
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5).