One of the things I never learned to enjoy is camping. I wish it were not so as everyone tells me how great it is, but truth be known, this author remembers the lengthy list of things you must pack such as lanterns and a sundry paraphernalia and of course the tent. Once there you get settled only to realize that the camping time has drawn to a close and you have to repack and move on. Unfortunately, my grumbling sounds like I need another lap around the wilderness just like the Israelites of old.
Paul uses the analogy of tenting to explain our life in this earthen vessel. He says beloved, it won’t be forever. I am sure the Israelites thought so too when they set up the Tabernacle. It was there for good, right? Wrong! God has a sense of humor and a way to get us to enjoy camping out with Him. He moves the light and the cloud and off we are again, packing up the Tabernacle and our tents to move on to another place. So too it is with our “tabernacle/tent” of our earthen vessels, this vessel, this outer man that is decaying day by day. Within we are new creation but our outer man is declining, frail and vulnerable as we said. But one day God will say it is time to fold up this earthly tabernacle and move on to the new destination and that is heaven where He is. Once there we will be outfitted with new camping gear and it won’t be that made with hands nor will it be temporary but eternal.
Until then, what is on God’s camping agenda for us? Vs 9: please Him; vs 11 persuade people to be reconciled to Him; vs 20 be His ambassadors; vs 21 be His righteousness before those whose minds are veiled and are perishing; 1Thess 4:2 walk and please Him; 1John 3:22, obey his commandments; Col 1:10 walk worthily of the Lord.
What should be our motive? Paul says it is the love of Christ that constraineth us and we are no longer to live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and was raised—just as the scriptures said. 1Cor 15:3-4 “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” Christ’s death accomplished the do’s and don’ts once and for all by paying for our sin and making us righteous.
So are you grumbling and groaning in this mortal “tent” like me? Take heart, I am sure Job , Noah and Enoch felt the same way along with a score of others. We won’t be on this earthly journey forever. One day we will see that the light and the cloud have moved and it is time to pack up our tent and head on to the new destination; heaven. Until then, let’s all learn to enjoy camping out with God and pleasing Him.