On Command

PillarOfFire (2)“At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out.”

Think of the phrase “on command” and it might bring to your mind several things: an obedient dog following his master’s instruction; a finely tuned military unit in action.

In the book of Numbers, the phrase “On command,” or more specifically, “At the LORD’s command,” means something altogether different.  It describes the way the Israelites traveled through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land.

Four thousand years later, how do we travel through our own spiritual wilderness?  I hope you can say it is the same way.

To travel at “the Lord’s command” does not mean we sit waiting to hear some booming voice from the clouds before we take any forward action.

It does mean though having an openness; an attentiveness, and a responsiveness to God’s call.

I hear people often struggling with the issue of spiritual discernment.  No matter how they express it, it all comes down to this: “What does God want me to do?”

I remind them that the answer may be found in doing as the people of God have always done: patiently wait for direction.

There are times to camp.  There are times to be on the move.

Watching and listening for God’s command will help you to decide when to do which.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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