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. (Numbers 10:33)
When the children of Israel finally left “the mountain of the LORD,” they traveled these three days toward the wilderness of Paran, not the land of Canaan. In fact, had they gone directly toward Canaan, three days would placed them at Canaan’s borders if not in the land itself. Therefore, the ark journeyed before them to inspire them to leave Sinai and to traverse the desert. Also, the pillar of cloud spread over them to protect them from the desert sun; at night the pillar of fire offered them warmth from the desert chill. God has never asked His people to do something that He didn’t provide what they needed to do it.
Being they were in Arabia meant they were among those who hated them and didn’t care much for their God. Consequently, when they would move, Moses would pronounce, “Arise O LORD and let your enemies be scattered. And let those who hate You flee before You” (Numbers 10:35). Moses would ask for God’s protection on each journey from their sworn enemies. Here again, the ark — which was essentially God’s Throne on earth — went before them to signal that the Almighty Himself would lead them to victory over their enemies.
Today, we have no ark to inspire us to move out of our comfort zone and into the uncertainty of life’s wilderness — we have better. We have the risen Messiah to lead us. We have the assurance that the One who sits upon Heaven’s Throne has already gone before us and will lead us to victory over our enemies if we will be faithful to follow Him. And so, in every situation we must remember that, though our surroundings and situation may look bleak at times, His Presence goes before us. Messiah said that He would never leave us or forsake us and, so, we must always be diligent to look unto the Author and Finisher of our faith. As we keep our eyes on Him, the things of this world will grow strangely dim. Be blessed.
Blessings and Shalom,