Summary: Everyone has things in our lives that prevent us from moving on or going places or doing things. We call such things obstacles, which is something that impedes your progress or your achievements.
God lead them in the day time by a cloud and in the night time by a pillar of fire.
While they were beginning their journey God gave them His Law so they could draw closer to Him. He gave them the plans to build a tabernacle for Him as well as all the furnishings for the tabernacle.
God instructed them to build the Ark of the Covenant which would be the place that His presence would dwell.
The Ark of the Covenant was made from acacia wood; it was 4 feet long by 2 ½ feet wide and 2 ½ feet deep.
It was covered by the finest gold and a lid, which was called the Mercy Seat, was place on top.
On each of the two sides were gold rings which were used to carry the Ark from place to place, using two wooden poles that were also covered by gold.
On the Mercy Seat there were two golden cherubim formed that faced each other with their wings spread over the top of the Ark.
All of this together formed the throne of God, the place where His presence dwelt among man. The Ark represents God’s presence.
This Ark was them placed inside the tabernacle in a place called the Holy of Holies.
Whenever the presence of God was at the Holy of Holies there would be a cloud that covered the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud lifted it was time for the Israelites to move on.
According to Numbers 10, when it was time for them to move, the 12 tribes of Israel had to line up a certain way.
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God instructed Moses to command the people to have 6 tribes of Israel in front, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Reuben, Simeon, and Gad.
Then the Holy Things from the tabernacle were put in line, including the Ark of the Covenant.
Then the rest of the tribes followed, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, Dan, Asher, and Naphtali.
Whenever God decided to move the people had to move. Each time God decided to stop the tabernacle had to be set up and each time God decided to go the tabernacle had to be taken down.
God might decide to stay a day, a week or a month and He might decide to travel for a day, a week or a month.
Whenever God chose to leave or stay, the people had to follow and it was that way for forty years.
40 years of wandering around in the wilderness because the people failed to trust God when they first arrived at the border of the Promised Land. So God punished that generation and promised the next generation the land.
During those 40 years in the wilderness God dwelt with the people of Israel, He never abandoned them, and when He stopped, His presence would rest upon the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
When the 40 years had passed the Israelites found themselves once again at the border of the Promised Land and God was about to teach them something new.
God was about to take them from the place they were to the place they were supposed to be.
They were at the border, Moses was dead and Joshua was now the leader, and they were ready to take the land that God had promised only there was a problem, there was an obstacle in their way.
The Jordan River was out of its banks. The area was flooded.