Numbers 2:2,17 – At the Center

We first encounter the term “tent of meeting” in Exodus 33:7-11 as the tent that Moses pitched outside the camp, where he would seek the Lord and speak with Him face to face.  This tent was the temporary tabernacle of God that was a place of worship and where He dwelt.  When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend upon this physical structure indicating God’s presence.  This is what we refer to as the Shekinah glory of God, actually a term not used in the Bible, but clearly evident in numerous instances of Yahweh’s manifestation on earth., e.g. during Israel’s flight from Pharaoh in Egypt.

When the Lord instructed Moses how they were to camp during the Exodus, He had them erect the tent of meeting at the center of all they did.  He said in Numbers 2:2:

“The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.”

Likewise, in Numbers 2:17, Yahweh told them how they were to march:

“Then the tent of meeting shall set out, with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camps; as they camp, so shall they set out, each in position, standard by standard.”

In all they did, whether at rest or on the move, the tent of meeting was to be the focus of their lives.  The Israelite tribes arrayed around it were to protect this dwelling place of God, while the Levites were to transport and maintain it (Numbers 1:53).

God’s purpose in this physical positioning was to keep His people’s eyes on Him, so that they would remember He was the One who delivered and sustained them.  He was God; there was none like Him; they were to worship none besides Him.

Some years ago Campus Crusade for Christ (now renamed CRU) developed the Four Spiritual Laws.  (See info at:  Along with these “laws” they also created images showing how they worked in a person’s life.  Someone can have either a Self-Directed Life or a Christ-Directed Life.

The image showing a Self-Directed Life depicts a circle with a chair (throne) at its center.  Self has the primary focus in this type of life, as it sits on that throne.  Within the circle are various dots representing the various interests and activities a person has.  Outside the circle is the cross of Christ.  The Self-Directed Life has these three characteristics:

  • Self is on the throne
  • Interests are directed by self, resulting in discord and frustration
  • Christ is outside the life

In contrast is a Christ-Directed Life.  The image for this shows a circle with a chair (throne at its center and on that chair is the cross of Christ.  All other interests and activities in a person’s life are also within that circle, but they are in orderly submission to Jesus Christ.  The Christ-Directed Life has these three characteristics:

  • Christ is on the throne
  • Self is yielding to Christ
  • Interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan

This is the image God portrayed in His arrangement of the tribes of Israel around the tabernacle.  We today, like those ancient tribes, are to keep our focus on Christ.  This results in all aspects of our lives being in harmony with God.  It means we live in obedience to Him and walk in righteousness because of Him.  We yield to Him in all things and give Him all glory for everything in our lives.

When the Israelites kept this picture at the forefront, God highly favored them with immense blessings.  All too often over the centuries, they forgot who gave them life and all they had.  They put self on the throne and suffered the consequences.

The same is true with us.  Christ must be our all in all.  In our making Him the reason for our existence and acting accordingly, we please Him, and His Shekinah glory even overshadows us.  What a blessing it is to live for Jesus!

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