Mary had a little lamb,
Little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.
My children are still young and they love to follow me around. One of the things they love to do is grab my leg and sit on my foot. They expect me to walk. In their eyes this is quite funny. After two back surgeries I find it quite difficult, not to mention painful! On several occasions I will find them following me and copying me. One night it was dark and the armadillos had dug up a few holes. I told my kids to get in behind me and follow me closely so that they would be safe.
The snow had just fallen in Northern Kentucky with a slow, steady fall overnight that blanketed the entire landscape with several inches of snow. I was new to the area and to snow. Having grown up in California to that point I was not real familiar with snow, woods, and the country. Dad had taken a job in Louisville and we now lived in the outskirts of the suburbs down a long country road. My friend, Troy, came over and we went to play. We imagined we were on a long hunt and went out into the woods behind our homes. After a little bit he stopped and made me stop. In a firm, not-to-question, voice he told me to slowly take steps backward. He knew something I did not. There was a steep drop-off and I was on the edge. I had not noticed this because of the snowfall and my inexperience. Later, after the melt, I went back and he showed me. From that point on I followed in every step he took.
The Israelites had been at Mt. Sinai for a year and now God had lifted from the Tent of Meeting and formed a pillar of clouds. This was the signal for them all to pack up and get ready to go. Where? They would go wherever God would lead. If the pillar stopped, they stopped. If the pillar moved, they moved.
11 During the second year, in the second month on the twentieth [day] of the month, the cloud was lifted up above the tabernacle of the testimony. 12 The Israelites traveled on from the Wilderness of Sinai, moving from one place to the next until the cloud stopped in the Wilderness of Paran. 13 They set out for the first time according to the Lord’s command through Moses.
The interesting moment in this transition from Sinai to Paran is who follows first. All of the tribes had a certain position in line. The assumption would be that it was oldest to youngest. However that is not what we find in this passage.
14 The military divisions of the camp of Judah with their banner set out first, and Nahshon son of Amminadab was over Judah’s divisions.
Judah was not the oldest, or the second. Judah was the fourth born son of Jacob. Why does Judah receive this important spot? Why does this tribe receive what appears to be special treatment and get to be first in line, closest to God? As you trace the lineage through the ages forward, we find that Jesus Christ is of the tribe of Judah. It is natural that Judah, who would birth the Son of God, would already be in line to follow God.
Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.
Each one that places faith in Jesus Christ become a child of God and joint-heir with Jesus. May we follow as closely as Judah; as closely as the lamb. May we step in His steps. May we go and stop as God leads.