So the saga of my nomadic lifestyle seems to still be continuing.. and I believe that it is nearing an end. Yes, I long to have a place to call home, to get my stuff together again and get organised. I have stored most of my stuff at a friend’s house – bless the heart of that aunty for bearing with me. Despite that, however as I reflect on the pains of moving from place to place – in a vehicle mind you, I realise how much of an ungrateful people we are – well at least I am!
Abraham and his clan moving about came to my mind. They used to move from place to place, in the desert at that.. without built roads and on camels. It wasn’t just a small family. Along with them went other family members, maid servants, man servants, cattles, their earthly possessions and tents.
Curiosity drove me to read up on “tents” as in the norm during the Biblical era. Black goats hair (the general material) was woven to form the tent materials and a dividing curtain if more than one family (or if cattle) was occupying the same tent… then there was matting for the floor. Apparently it was the women’s duty to pitch the tents! Often the poorer families just had one donkey to carry their earthly possessions. Hence bedding wasn’t something they could carry around. On the other hand sheikhs and chiefs had several tents – for themselves and guests, for their wives and female servants and for the cattle. After the Israelites had moved into houses from living in tents, they had continued to worship God in tents. We read of the ‘tent of meeting’ in the tabernacle.
Back to Abraham…
There are so many references to Abraham’s tent..and in so many places. Just imagine pitching the tents and taking them down.. and moving from place to place. What an obedient vessel of God – just to follow where God was leading him without even having an idea. Would you and I do that? Or worse, would we as onlookers, even judge Abraham – “see he is off his head”, “he is irresponsible”, he has no purpose”… the list would expand. Yet this was a man who was called righteous for his faith and obedience. He sure did have purpose, he did have an agenda – but the purpose and agenda was not his own… Instead it was to surrender to God’s divine purpose and agenda. Imagine the privilege he had to be of the chosen generation, whereby he eventually became of the lineage of Jesus Christ Himself.
Later on the Israelites did that under the leadership of Moses and then of Joshua. They had no idea where they were going. God led them by the cloud by day and fire by night. Many of them grumbled and disobeyed and missed out on the promised land.
Then I think of Jesus.. Here is the Son of God seated on the throne at the right hand of His Father.. in Heaven, in absolute splendour… Yet He takes human form and comes to earth… Even His birth was in a lowly manger as Mary and Joseph couldn’t find a room at an inn.
Not only was Jesus born in such settings, He says “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Not even a tent is being mentioned here!
There are a few different angles we need to look at and examine ourselves. First is how we perceive and judge others in their walk with God…
Oh are we going to judge Mary and Joseph too- that if they were truly walking in the Lord, this wouldn’t have happened to them Are we going to judge further, if Jesus was truly the Son of God, would He have had to go so low to be born in such a disgusting environment? Well if you say I’m being ridiculous, well it’s because many Christians aren’t true believers but people who “judge” based on their limited human wisdom, without realising all these biblical events were for a PURPOSE.. and likewise such events can repeat themselves – the blessings, the divine intervention as well as the sufferings. Didn’t Job’s friends do the same judge Job for his sufferings? Didn’t God then rebuke them that they needed to repent? Job’s friends had no idea that God had given Satan permission to “test” him knowing full well that Job was righteous and would pass the test with flying colours.
Then we need to examine our own walk as a believer. Many of us don’t want to share our homes for lack of privacy or space or for comfort zones or even safety.. but imagine the tent dwellers having than one family in a tent? What does the Bible say in regards to hospitality and opening our homes?
Isaiah prophesied to the Israelites using a “tent” figuratively.