journey

God cares about the process, not just the results.

1 Chronicles 15

After a few months, David went back to (once again) retrieve the Ark of the Covenant and bring it back to Jerusalem. This time, however, he had a different method in mind: "Then David summoned... the priests... and the Levites. He said to them, 'You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.' So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord." (vs 11-15)

Photo © Unsplash/Jungwoo Hong

Photo © Unsplash/Jungwoo Hong

To me, this signaled that God cares about how we do things, not just that we do them. It wasn’t just a matter of bringing the Ark back from Philistine exile, but it was important to be done in the right way. God had given specific instructions about how the Ark was to be handled, in order to preserve the respect and awe of being in God’s presence. It was important that this process was followed—so the Israelites would be more inclined to take God seriously, especially after they had ignored Him for so many years!

Sometimes, the process is just as important to God as the results. He’s not just out to get to any end at any means. How things are done matter to Him. For that reason, just as David learned, they should matter to us, too!

Photo © Unsplash/Suzanne D. Williams

Photo © Unsplash/Suzanne D. Williams

God answers questions before we ask them.

God answers questions before we ask them.

1 Chronicles 13

King David wanted to do a very good thing. He wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant back from its exile. He realized that, during the reign of Saul, the Lord had basically been ignored, and he wanted to change that. Unfortunately, after accusing Saul of not "inquiring" of the Ark, David did the same exact thing.

God sees death differently than we do.

God sees death differently than we do.

2 Kings 20

Once again, we encounter the subject of death, and I thought Hezekiah’s reaction on the news of his impending fate was telling (and quite familiar): "Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 'Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.' And Hezekiah wept bitterly." (vs 2-3)

God wants us to go all in.

God wants us to go all in.

1 Kings 19

For those of you who may not be fans of poker, there frequently comes a point when a player will go "all in." That means that he will bet everything he has left because he believes he has the best hand at the table. Everything is on the line. If he has the best hand, he may be in a position to win the whole game. But if he doesn’t have the best hand, he could lose everything.

God works in unexpected ways.

God works in unexpected ways.

2 SAMUEL 2

So, now that Saul is dead, it’s time for David to ascend to the throne of Israel, right? He even asks the Lord what the next step is, and the Lord tells him to go to Hebron (vs 1). David has been waiting so long... you can almost sense his relief and enthusiasm as he addresses the men who had been loyal to Saul and praises them for all their service to the Lord’s anointed.

God is on the move.

God is on the move.

1 SAMUEL 16

I just love it when the Bible hauls off and slaps me upside the head. This was one of those chapters. I read the whole thing, of course, recognizing the most famous verse along the way—"People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."(vs 7) But, mentally, I never really got past verse one. It hit me right between the eyes the second I read it:

God doesn't give up on us.

God doesn't give up on us.

DEUTERONOMY 1

Sometimes, with God, we are tempted to think it’s all about "arriving." You know, getting to the destination, reaching the goal. But, as I read this chapter, I saw something different. Check out this verse: "It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road." (vs 2) I love the fact that, in the Bible, this verse is actually in parentheses, more like an aside. It’s as if Moses was saying, "Uh, we’ve spent forty years in this desert. Just so you know, this journey should have taken eleven days."

God travels forward.

God travels forward.

NUMBERS 32

So, the Israelites are again poised to enter the Promised Land, when the Reubenites and Gadites come to Moses and request to settle where they already are, outside the border of Canaan. After Moses makes sure they don’t intend to desert their Israelite brothers in the effort to drive out the Canaanites from the land, Moses makes the deal to let them have the land on the other side of the Jordan as their inheritance.

God requires only a little.

God requires only a little.

NUMBERS 10

And so, the Israelites left Mount Sinai: "On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the covenant law. Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. They set out, this first time, at the Lord’s command through Moses." (vs 11-13)

God has a travel plan.

God has a travel plan.

NUMBERS 9

This chapter of Numbers detailed how the Israelites mapped out their travel through the desert... they didn’t. "Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped... 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 the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out." (vs 17, 22-23)