Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Following Directions

Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD's order and did not set out. - Numbers 9: 17-19

Have you ever worked with someone who doesn’t follow directions? I never understood why God seems so frustrated throughout the text until I saw this first hand.

There was a woman who used to work near me. She had the job of running some very specific reports and analysis for our VP of Marketing. When she first got the position she did as she was told. He gave clear instructions, she followed them. All was good in her cubicle world.

Then she started thinking…

Now… thinking is good. I like thinking. In fact, as evidenced by this blog, I love to think. But she did something interesting…

First she started by suggesting different ways to do the work. She had some good experience so the VP looked into her approach. However, after looking into it, there were some critical things missing. These were things that she couldn’t see because she didn’t have the proper perspective.

The VP is the VP for good reason.

So instead of taking this as a learning opportunity, she seemed to decide that she knew how to do his job better than he did. Over the next several months I watched him nicely try to get her to follow basic instructions to no avail.

One day her cube was empty. I was not surprised.

I know that I look at a lot of the things in the Bible this way too. There is so much that I agree with and understand. But there is also so much that I don’t understand. In the past I used to fight against it. I figured that if I didn’t agree with something then it was wrong.

I was right. That’s all there is to it.

But something amazing happened. As I continued to live life, I started to see how some of the disagreements that I had were misunderstandings on my part. I lacked the proper perspective to understand these things simply because I had not lived them.

So what does one do with this? Do we accept the things in the Bible or the ideas of our leaders as fact to be followed thoughtlessly?


But it may be helpful to realize a few things… Maybe we don’t have all of the answers. Maybe there are some things that we don’t understand. Maybe there are some things that are beyond our understanding.

So if you have faith in where the instruction is coming from give it a chance. Often times the reason why we don’t like a particular instruction is because it is something that challenges us to grow.

Not all the time… but often times.

Today’s Reading: Numbers 11: Mark 5: 1-20


  1. It´s a lot easier to follow directions if you are provided with food when you do. It was during this time in the desert that the Israelites were provided with mana every morning. I think I´d follow the cloud too, as opposed to starving in the desert. Maybe evidenced with the motorcycle, I like to explore.

    Danny Paz
    PS- I wish that I could automatically get an email when someone responds to my comments.

  2. Yeah but two chapters later the Israelites were complaining about how they were tired of eating the same thing everyday and how they should stone Moses, find a new leader, and go back to Egypt to be slaves again...

    Things were cool when they stuck to the plan.. but got all messed up when they did they're own thing.

  3. Then Moses hit a rock and turned it into water and was never allowed into Israel. He REALLY should´ve stuck with the plan.

    WHOA- That reminds me. Do you know what Israel means? Fights with God (at least, that´s my understanding). It comes from the story where Jacob fights with God in a dream. Afterward, God named him Israel. We Jews are the "Children of Israel"...therefore the children of Jacob, who fought with God. I guess that´s why we are taught to argue all of the interpretations...

    Who knows.
    Danny Paz

  4. hahaha. I feel really bad for Moses with that. I thought that was unfair. God himself said that Moses was the most humble man on earth. Why was he so hard on him? I feel an open letter to God from Moses coming in this blog's future. So wack.

    Yeah I did know that. Jacob was gangsta that night. Why did God pull the hustle move and dislocate his hip tho?

    God... you ain't right for that!

    And what is life if we don't challenge things ya know? I hear ya there.


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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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