NUMBERS 9:22-23: “Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: How do I walk in the Spirit? How do I hear God’s voice? How do I know what the Lord wants me to do with my life? How can I learn to walk in obedience and faith daily?
The Bible is very clear in its instruction. We are called to live by and walk after the Spirit. This is not merely a suggestion. This is a command.
- “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 NKJV
We, like the children of Israel, are on a journey. We are not wandering in a literal desert, although at times it might seem like we are. Yet, if we are going to avoid the pitfalls of the flesh, our old nature, we must learn to walk in the Spirit.
Some may object to the concept of learning when it comes to walking in the Spirit. Yet, just as a small child must learn to take their first steps, a believer must learn to walk in the Spirit. This is not automatic. It is learned as we daily begin to look into His Word, hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, and respond in faith with steps of obedience. The Old Testament wilderness wandering is a wonderful picture of this.
The Lord’s presence was physically displayed in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was the presence of the Lord that rested over the Tabernacle. This was not only a physical reminder of God’s presence with the nation of Israel. It was also the very means by which they followed the pathway He laid out before them. When the cloud rested, they rested. When the cloud rose from the Tabernacle, they broke camp and followed the cloud until it rested again.
When I read this I am tempted to think – “Wow, it sure would be easier if I had a cloud to follow!” Can you imagine how that would simplify our lives? All we would have to do is wake up, look for the cloud, and then proceed with our day – wherever the cloud would take us! Why doesn’t God work this way for us today?
There were only a select few who were able to approach the presence of God. Moses, Aaron, and Joshua were among these few. God would speak to Moses through the cloud, but the rest of the nation of Israel could only stand at a distance from their tents and see Moses enter into the cloud over the Tabernacle. And, even though they could see the physical cloud, they could not communicate with God personally. The Holy Spirit did not indwell their hearts.
On the Day of Pentecost, everything changed. No longer would we have to look upon the presence of God from a distance. The Holy Spirit fell upon each believer and they were filled with His presence. The pillar of fire became tongues of fire. The fire no longer hovered over the Tabernacle – it filled every heart with power from on high. At that moment every believer was welcomed into the Holy of Holies, through the blood of Jesus Christ, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This was a cataclysmic shift!
Now, we no longer have to stand at our tents, watch Moses enter God’s presence, and wait to hear what His message is for our life. We are invited into the presence of God! We are invited to hear His voice! We are promised His abounding grace and mercy in our time of need!
- “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,”. Hebrews 10:19-20 NKJV
- “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
The Holy Spirit leads us into the presence of God through the Word of God. As we abide in His Word, as we meditate upon His truth, as we pour over each word with prayer, the Spirit begins to speak to us. We learn to hear His voice. We learn to respond to His promptings. As we hear, we begin to take steps of faith and obedience. And, as we grow n faith and obedience it becomes easier to discern His voice.
The Holy Spirit will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to God’s Word. He will always lead us into the pathway of righteousness and will always give glory to Jesus. The more we learn to walk in the Spirit the more we will become like Jesus. It is not a skill that we master. Rather, it is one that we must cultivate every day. Like the children of Israel, we must position ourselves daily to hear God’s voice. If we become dull and distracted we can miss God’s direction for our life.
As we hear God’s Word, as the Spirit speaks to our hearts, we must then put the Word into practice. This is how we learn to walk in the Spirit. If the children of Israel simply watched the cloud lift from the Tabernacle, and move on, but never broke camp and followed it, they would have been left in the wilderness to wander on their own. Obedience, our response to the grace of God in our life, as we hear the Spirit speaking to us through the Word of God, is the key to learning ow to walk in the Spirit. It is the way we break up camp and follow the Spirit’s leading each day!
- “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 NKJV
Heavenly Father, I want to do your will. I want to walk in the Spirit. I want to grow in faith and obedience. Teach me to open my heart every day, just like the children of Israel opened the door of their tents to see where the cloud was leading them. Fill me anew with the Holy Spirit and lead me every day in Your will for my life. Open my eyes to see Jesus, and seeing Him, to follow Him! Teach me how to walk in Your Spirit!
In Jesus’ Name!