On Monday, one of the Bible passages I read was from Numbers:
Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you’; come with us, and we will treat you well; for the Lord has promised good to Israel.”
But he said to him, “I will not go, but I will go back to my own land and to my kindred.”
[Moses] said, “Do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us. Moreover, if you go with us, whatever good the Lord does for us, the same we will do for you.” So they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey with the ark of the covenant of the Lord going before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them, the cloud of the Lord being over them by day when they set out from the camp. Numbers 10:29-34A lot of times, I just skim the Old Testament passages for the day, but this one jumped out at me because there was something unusual about the story. Earlier Numbers describes how God would lead his people to the promised land using a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. How much more obvious could God's guidance be? Very few of us are led through each day of our lives by such signs and wonders. Yet even with such a superhuman navigator, Moses still asked Hobab to accompany them because "you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us."
Was Moses exhibiting a lack of faith with this request? No, I think he was being brilliant. Even when God guides us directly, he has ordered things so that we must rely on each other. Each of us has different gifts and different life experiences. When we're venturing into new areas as part of our life's journey, it's a good idea to find someone who's already been through that territory. Chances are that they will have already found some of the resources and survival tips we'll need.
When I read this passage in Numbers, I realized that it made a good counterpoint to my last two posts, which retold the story of how Michael and I believe God led us to marry. We didn't rely only on the signs I mentioned. Because our emotions were so strongly involved, we knew it was good to get some more objective perspectives. We went to pre-marital counseling, and we paid attention to how the people who loved us and knew us best felt about our relationship. Like Moses, we invited Hobab along for practical direction.
Even when doing something more mundane than choosing your life partner, it's a good idea to test out important decisions. We all need the special skills and knowledge that other people have to offer—especially during those times when we don't have the Almighty acting as our divine GPS system.