The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, "The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers' houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.”
The content of chapter two of the Book of Numbers seems to read like a military manual, with detailed descriptions of how the nation of Israel was expected to camp in the wilderness and march on campaign. But there is an interesting informational piece that provides a valuable spiritual lesson. Ad the people of Israel assembled to either travel or set up camp, God was kept at the center of Israeli life.
The physical encampment was interesting. The site was always arranged in something like concentric circles with God in the center. Immediately surrounding the Tent of Meet were the priests and Levites. Then the various tribes arranged themselves in a set pattern around the Tent of Meeting, taking care according to God’s command to pitch their tents so that they always faced God’s presence at the center.
This was a physical reminder of a spiritual truth. Every morning these people would awaken and leave their dwellings always taking their first step out of the door toward the worship of God. The first thing they ever saw from the door of their tent was God’s presence in fire or the cloud that overshadowed the Tent of Meeting. The worship of God was central to their lifestyle. They still had daily subsistence tasks, but God stayed in the center.
The same was true while on the move. The twelve tribes divided into four divisions with a fifth column surrounded by the two divisions front and back. That center division was made up of Levites who carried all the worship essentials with them on the march. God never left center focus for Israel.
If God cared enough to never leave center focus for Israel, what does that teach us today? God is more than a Sunday sermon with an hour one day a week. Jesus gets more than sixty minutes a week, doesn’t He? He is not an add-on or a hobby. He is a central focus for a true Christian. Worship is a daily lifestyle and not just a short activity endured for the length of a TV drama. We can learn this from God’s instruction to His people in the wilderness!