What we've been talking about for the past couple of days is the God of battle and big moments. This God takes the first step and also brings up the rear. He goes before you, and He stands behind you.
But life is not all battles and big moments. Sometimes, it's just...life. When life is just life, you can't always wait on God to take that first step. God is not always going to go first.
Sometimes, you have to make the first move.
Think about the way the tribes of Israel were camped in the wilderness. From the time Moses commissioned the Tabernacle, everyone had their set position: three tribes on the east, three on the south, three on the north, and three on the west. God's holy tent stood in the center of the camp.
Whenever Israel undertook the next phase of their journey, they broke camp. Some of the tribes led the way, heading off toward land unknown with God behind them. Other tribes brought up the rear, following their brothers and their God as they inched their way closer to the Promised Land. So when we're just talking about everyday life, it's like that old country song.
Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow. (Life's a dance. You learn as you go.)
But that's secondary to the bigger picture here. Because while some tribes led and some tribes followed, for the nation of Israel as a whole, the message was even more profound. The message was this: God is in the middle of whatever you're doing.
I think that's far too easy for us to forget. I know it is for me. When life gets to be, well, life, I get busy. I set about doing whatever work it is that lies before me. And every now and then, I find myself looking around for God, trying to figure out where He is, trying to figure out how to reconnect with Him. I figure that whenever I settle down in the next place of rest, whenever I come to a place to build a new camp for awhile, I'll figure God out all over again and we'll get back together.
This is, of course, problematic.
It sets up this pattern where we're always learning and forgetting and re-learning God. The God who is the same yesterday and today and forever doesn't lend Himself well to this. This is how our faith gets so messed up. It's not that we come to rely on God to be who He is. It's that He becomes...routine.
If you stay connected with God, and He's the same yesterday and today and forever, you get this developing revelation of His consistency. You get a God you can count on. You know what to expect from Him, or so you think. What you really get is a God who keeps showing you in new ways just who He is.
But if you keep losing track of God and coming back to find Him faithful, you only see a faithful God, never a creative one. And creativity is such an expression of love! But when you lose Him, find Him, lose Him, find Him, it becomes more like homework. More like solving math problems. More like finding out again and again that 2+2=4. It's, well, boring.
Then God is boring.
Then it's easier to lose sight of Him.
Because you're missing out on one consistent picture. You're not seeing God yesterday, today, and forever; you're only seeing Him today. He only is whatever He is right now. Because when you lost sight of Him, you lost memory of Him. You're having to learn all over again, and yesterday had no God and there is no forever. There is only now. Only when you're looking. Only when you're seeking. Only when you need Him. You take this incredible depth of God and make Him so shallow that He can fit only into this moment.
Whereas if you'd only known He was always in your midst, He would take this shallow moment and make it deeper.
So then, that's what we need to be aware of. Yes, in battle and big moments, we have a God who goes before and a God who stands behind. We have a God who takes the first big step and also takes the glory.
But when life is just life, in all these quiet little moments, we have to remember that no matter where we're camped, no matter where we're going, every little step we take, God's right in the middle of it all. He's right smack dab in the middle.
Life's a dance.