Scripture: (Num 2:1-2 NKJV)  And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: {2} “Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard, beside the emblems of his father’s house; they shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting.

Observation: In the camp of Israel, God wanted there to be order and organization.  Three tribes were to be encamped on each of the four sides of the tabernacle.  The sight of those thousands of tents and the several millions of people in and around them must have been very impressive.   I imagine there was order and solemnity much of the time, but there must have been lighter moments when children played and chased each other, families sat together to eat, or to take a nap, or to talk about the events of the day.  This was a forty-year-long family camping experience.  Of course, there were probably also times when things got a little tense around camp and people stepped on each others’ toes. . . that all’s part of being with others.

Application: I remember one camping trip with my family in particular.  My dad had a tent made for our family (you didn’t just go to a store to buy one).  Since there were six of us children and my parents, it had to be big enough to hold all eight of us.  It was made of heavy canvass, and the support was made or regular plumbing pipes.  What this means is that the tent was very heavy, and carrying all those pipes and trying to figure out where each went made it for hard work, a lot of head, and back, aches, lots of tense moments, lots of stress when what we were looking for was rest.
    But once the canvas monster was finally set up, it was pure joy.  We gathered wood for a fire so we could cook our meals.  The place where we camped was an open field that belonged to one of my dad’s customer and who granted us permission to stay over the weekend, by the river, and no one anywhere near us to disturb us. The open field was a place where cows pastured, so we needed to be careful where we stepped; at the same time, the dry remnants were thrown on the fire because we had been told they would serve as mosquito repellent.  During that weekend, it was hot some of the time (which under a canvass tent was almost unbearable), it was rainy at times, and it was cool at times, but it was most enjoyable most of the time.  I remember swimming in the crystal clear water of the river, eating freshly caught fish from the same river, sitting at night by the fire and looking up at millions of stars we couldn’t normally see from our city home.
     Now, some forty years later, I still remember so much of that weekend – including having to pull my brother-in-law’s car all the way home (he and my sister were not yet married, so it was most embarrassing and humiliating for him, even though my dad didn’t say anything to make him feel so).  Those special family times make our memories and make our future.  We may not enjoy camping, but certainly there are activities we can enjoy doing together.  With my wife and daughters, we enjoy traveling to new places (we have been to 45 of the 50 states in the union and several countries outside of the US.  We treasure everyone of the memories we have collected through all those years.  So, make the time and spend the time together with your family building the memories you will carry on for a lifetime.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, help us be more intentional in setting aside time to be together as families in relaxing, memorable moments.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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