Of course, we were there for other reasons. Sometimes we were attending a family reunion, or we were on vacation. In either case, we were typically just passing through the area, although my brother and I would have been happy to spend the entire vacation within the walls of our hotel.
For forty years, Moses and the Israelite tribes trekked through the Middle Eastern desert. They lived in tents and survived on food God rained down from the sky. Even the Tabernacle was a tent, so when the call came to move on, God's Presence would travel with them.
I wonder if the Israelites ever wanted to stay where their tents were already pitched? It must have been tiring to pack up all of their belongings (again) and leave behind what they had grown accustomed to (again) to travel to some unknown, unseen place (again).
But this was not their home. They were just passing through as they made their way to the Promised Land.
"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland...But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:13-16).
As the Israelites passed each day inside their tents, they were reminded that their stay was not permanent. No matter how much easier it would have been to put down roots and make a more permanent home, they were traveling to a better place.
A hotel stay is supposed to be a temporary visit for the guest to rest and recharge - and then get up and continue on their journey. We aren't supposed to get used to all the extra luxuries (no matter how many channels the TV offers). The hotel itself is never our destination.
As C.S. Lewis once said, "Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." Throughout all of history, the faithful followers of God have been "seeking a homeland" - and this world is not it.
We aren't called to get comfortable here. Heaven is our home, and any comforts and special blessings we find on this earth are, like C.S. Lewis said, merely "pleasant inns." We are just passing through! Our true home awaits...
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net