On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At YHWH’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed YHWH’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at YHWH’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 it lifted, they would set out. At YHWH’s command they encamped, and at YHWH’s command they set out. They obeyed YHWH’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. — Numbers 9:15-23 (NIV)
We have adopted Numbers 9:21b (“Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.”) as our ministry verse.
Rather, it has adopted us.
During Lent 2011, as we were spending time in the prayer room at Asbury (aka The Trailernacle) we began to earnestly pray that most dangerous of prayers, “Lord, show us where You are working, and how we can join in.”
As we prayed, the Lord began to give us bits and pieces of what would become Led By The Word. At the time, we weren’t exactly sure what to do with them, yet we surrendered to the Lord’s leading and said, “We don’t get it, but trust You.”
Time progressed onward, and it became increasingly clear that God was telling us that now is the time to head into full-time ministry. He gave us some idea of what the ministry would look like (confirmed in Mexico through prophetic words), and told us to “keep pressing, keep listening, and keep looking” and that in due time (in HIS time) He would make it clear. But, that clarity would be day-by-day-by-day.
Some of these ideas that He gave us in the prayer room were things like:
- “Keep a suitcase packed”
- “Meet urgent needs”
- “Seasonal ministry”
They all pointed to the idea that our “call” was not to a specific location for a long-term. Rather, it would be as the Israelites experienced in Numbers 9.
- Sometimes, they stayed a while.
- Sometimes, they stayed a night.
- Sometimes, they moved a long distance.
- Sometimes, they moved a short distance.
In all they they followed the cloud in obedience.
So, for Led By The Word, when the cloud moves, we’ll move. When the cloud parks, we’ll park.
There’s a process of learning to wait that has be learned from following the cloud. The lesson we see in the grand story of the Israelites is that it is easy to grow discontent when the cloud parks for a while. Yet, in those seasons of being parked, we are told to wait on YHWH and let Him renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31).
Pray for us as we watch the cloud and as we follow it.