Numbers chapter 2 lays out the camp plan, telling which tribes will camp on which side of the tabernacle. There are tribes positioned east, south, west, and north of the tabernacle, and when they set out, they will go out in order.
I can appreciate the orderliness and organization; moving out all those people could use a plan. I’m sure there are treasures in there about the order of how the tribes are placed, but I haven’t discovered those yet.
Each tribe, however, is told to camp by his standard. The standard is a flag, a banner. The tribes are marked, showing their clan and distinguishing them from each other. Of course, the question begs to be asked, “Whose standard are you camping under?” Camping out by your own standard sounds like a recipe for disaster. I want to camp out under the banner of the Lord and live by His standard, not one I set up.
We, of course, have a definition of standard that’s not a banner. People tend to set their own standards as good enough. “I’m a good person because I…” People are into being good people these days. They want to have a cause. It makes them feel they have standards and are one of the good guys.
But God’s standard is perfection, holiness, being given over to Him completely. We don’t pacify God with a little bit of what we call goodness. Being God’s child is all or nothing. You are in or out. You’re His child or you aren’t. You are grafted in or cut off. There’s no middle ground. You belong to God or you don’t.
You don’t camp under God’s standard at night with your bedtime prayers and then wander away from camp by day. You have to choose whose camp you are in.
There should be nothing hard about the choice. We can camp under the banner of love, power, glory, justice, righteousness, faithfulness, protection, blessing. Or we can create our own patchwork standard taking the parts we like and adding on some others we like better and ending up with a poor imitation that will never and cannot possibly ever meet God’s standard. You’re in your own camp.
The blessing is in being on God’s side. I want to camp under His standard because His banner over me is love (Song of Solomon 2:4).