Week of May 4: Numbers 9:15-23; 10:11-36 (The Cloud of Guidance)
Why do you think God chose a cloud for the people to follow?
How would the cloud help Moses lead the people?
How many times and ways does this passage refer to the cloud?
How does God let you know that He wants you to do something?
How can you be sure that it’s His guidance that you are following?
Numbers 9:15-23; 10:11-36 (The Cloud of Guidance)
The Fiery Cloud
15On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. 16This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. 17Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. 18In this way, they traveled and camped at the lord’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. 19If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the lord. 20Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the lordcommanded. Then at the lord’s command they would break camp and move on. 21Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. 22Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23So they camped or traveled at the lord’s command, and they did whatever the lord told them through Moses.
11In the second year after Israel’s departure from Egypt—on the twentieth day of the second month—the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle of the Covenant.12So the Israelites set out from the wilderness of Sinai and traveled on from place to place until the cloud stopped in the wilderness of Paran.13When the people set out for the first time, following the instructions the lord had given through Moses,14Judah’s troops led the way. They marched behind their banner, and their leader was Nahshon son of Amminadab.15They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Issachar, led by Nethanel son of Zuar,16and the troops of the tribe of Zebulun, led by Eliab son of Helon.17Then the Tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonite and Merarite divisions of the Levites were next in the line of march, carrying the Tabernacle with them.18Reuben’s troops went next, marching behind their banner. Their leader was Elizur son of Shedeur.19They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Simeon, led by Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai,20and the troops of the tribe of Gad, led by Eliasaph son of Deuel.21Next came the Kohathite division of the Levites, carrying the sacred objects from the Tabernacle. Before they arrived at the next camp, the Tabernacle would already be set up at its new location.22Ephraim’s troops went next, marching behind their banner. Their leader was Elishama son of Ammihud.23They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Manasseh, led by Gamaliel son of Pedahzur,24and the troops of the tribe of Benjamin, led by Abidan son of Gideoni.25Dan’s troops went last, marching behind their banner and serving as the rear guard for all the tribal camps. Their leader was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai.26They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Asher, led by Pagiel son of Ocran,27and the troops of the tribe of Naphtali, led by Ahira son of Enan.28This was the order in which the Israelites marched, division by division.29One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!”30But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.”31“Please don’t leave us,” Moses pleaded. “You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide.32If you do, we’ll share with you all the blessings the lord gives us.”33They marched for three days after leaving the mountain of thelord, with the Ark of the lord’s Covenant moving ahead of them to show them where to stop and rest.34As they moved on each day, the cloud of the lord hovered over them.35And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, “Arise, O lord, and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!”36And when the Ark was set down, he would say, “Return, O lord, to the countless thousands of Israel!”