“The Israelites did everything the Lord commanded Moses; they camped by their banners in this way and moved out the same way, each man by his clan and by his ancestral house. (Numbers 2:34)
Imagine yourself standing on top of a high mountain and looking down on the valley below, your eyes taking in the massive scene of humanity below in the camp of God. The camp itself was organized by the Lord’s instruction. The tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun camped toward the east. The tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad camped to the south. Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin camped to the west, and Dan, Asher, and Naphtali to the north. In the middle the Levites camped by the Tabernacle which was central to Israel’s very being, for there the Lord resided. When the Shekinah glory cloud lifted, Israel was to pack up and move out just as they were camped. Impressive, to say the least.
The most impressive feature of all was simply the centrality of the Lord’s presence among the people of Israel. This was impressive because it provided access to the Lord from any direction. That doesn’t mean that anyone could go into the holy of holies for a direct audience with the Lord, but it does mean that everyone had an equal access to the Lord through prayer. All had equal access for worship as well.
The centrality of the Lord’s presence was impressive also because it brought order to the chaos. Earlier, Israel was just loosely organized, but with these instructions to Moses, the Lord organized them.
The application of this in terms of “take-home” truth is two-fold: 1) We all have equal access to God in faith, and 2) the Lord’s presence in our lives brings peace out of the chaos we sometimes experience in life.
Lord, May Your Spirit dwell at the very center of our being, and may we be at the very center of Your will. Amen.