7/10/2015 – Brief Thoughts: Outside the Camp

“Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.” (Ex 33:7-8) 

 “But when [the Jews] resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’” (Acts 18:6)

God’s true church is always found operating outside the camp of organized religion, because men inevitably try to take a God they cannot possibly fully comprehend and fit Him into their tidy boxes they can understand. Those boxes that begin with spiritual boundaries typically end up taking the form of physical outlines we call churches. But they are not now, any more than the temples the Jews built and worshipped were then. God refuses to be put in any box that can be comprehended by men, just as He refuses to be found or followed at a time and place that is convenient to men.

Our Lord is always on the move—always about that “new thing” He is doing. This is why He said through the prophet Isaiah, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new! Now it will spring forth. Will you not be aware of it?” (Isa 43:18-19). It is why Paul said, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on” (Phil 3:13-14). When we try to put God in our boxes called organized religion we attempt to keep Him confined to who we perceive Him to be, not who He actually is or evolving in to what He will mean to us as we grow and progress. Jesus is constantly in the process of growing His disciples, and that growth never takes place in what was, but what is and will be as those new things for us take shape. That is why, for the disciple who truly seeks the Lord, life will always be found a “good distance” from temples and religions of man, and far, far outside their camps.

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