Moses and the nation of Israel were being led across the desert to the Promised Land by God. God’s leading was not subtle – He showed Himself in a huge pillar of fire at night and as a cloud hovering over them during the day. When the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people followed, and when the cloud settled, the people of Israel camped. (Numbers 9:17) The Ark of the Lord’s covenant moved ahead of them to show the Israelites where to stop and rest. Right in the middle of this passage of divine instruction are a couple of verses that I find fascinating. Here is the conversation as recorded in Numbers 10:29 – 32 in the New Living Translation (2001):
One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the Promised Land. Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has given wonderful promises to Israel!”
But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.”
Please don’t leave us,” Moses pleaded. “You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide and we will share with you all the good things the LORD does for us.”
This passage mystifies me. God was leading Moses through the Wilderness. Numbers 10:35 says “Whenever the Ark set out…” the people would set out. Did Moses not trust God? It says he pleaded with Hobab to stay. I find this an interesting sideline in an otherwise fairly dull, logistical chapter listing the order in which the 12 tribes of Israel would march when they moved. Perhaps it is to keep the reader grounded, to keep us aware that Moses was a man with tremendous responsibility. Should it surprise us if he needed “someone with skin on” to reassure him? I know I do.
Today I am joining the Multitudes on Mondays giving thanks for those “with skin on” in my life:
# 130 my co-workers who support in a workplace that is very difficult. They make sure I get help for the heavy lifting, breaks for personal needs, and task re-assignments when the place is extremely busy
# 131 my sisters who have shared my formative years and who have my back whatever the situation
# 132 service people in my community who go the second mile delivering my mail, serving me food when I go out to eat, lifting groceries into the car, helping me find something in a store, buying a new appliance. A special thanks for Michelle who got me an incredible deal on a new refrigerator this week and then made sure I’d have it delivered quickly since all my food was thawing!
# 133 people of my church who never fail to rally around one another when there is a need
# 134 for friends who are there for fun stuff: for Ann to go biking, for Ramona to make cards, for Ashley to sew and cook, for Barb to stretch…and many more
# 135 for 3 furry canines who never cease to make me feel like I’m the most wonderful person in the world
# 136 for professionals who really care: our family MD, “Doogie Houser”; our dentist, Pat Miller, whom I went to high school with; our local pharmacists and Erin, my husband’s treatment phlebotomist (she never misses a vein). This may seem like an odd gratitude, but when you’re dealing with someone who has cancer, they really can make the difference between stress and peace.
# 137 my husband’s brother who cleaned the leaves out of the gutters of his mother’s house. He’s 13 years younger than my husband and is a true gift of God.
# 138 for spiritual sisters in the Lord who keep me accountable and growing: Nancy x3 (it was a popular name at that time), Ann and Karol
# 139 former students and patients who come from out of nowhere and tell me what I meant to them. It helps me look back at my life in a more positive way.
I guess the lesson in all this is that no matter what position we hold in the Kingdom, we all need one another. I thank God for you, too, Dear Reader. You make this a better world for me in many ways.
Traveling with the multitudes today,