My Own Personal Pillar of Fire!
Reading: Exodus 39:32 – 40:38
Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels. Exodus 40:34-38 (NIV)
Every day and every night of their 40 years in the wilderness, the pillar of cloud and fire reminded Israel that God was with them. They could see it, they could no doubt hear it, and they could feel it as it provided shade by day and heat by night. The pillar was a multi-sensual representation of God's Presence. And where was God's Presence? Covering and filling the Tent of Meeting, indicating that God's desire was to meet with his people.
Whenever the pillar of cloud moved, the people packed up and followed it. They were effectively moving with the Presence of God. Moving where they did not know, but moving nonetheless. Their ultimate destination was the promised land, but in the meantime, they were simply following God. It was guidance by cloud and by fire.
Guidance isn't always easy. There have been times when I could have wished for my own personal pillar of cloud to help me decide what to do next. But now I think of it, the Holy Spirit is just that – my own personal pillar of cloud. He is my Fire. He is God's Presence meeting with me, and I am the 'Tent of Meeting', anointed and consecrated to him; He dwells in me! And He is the one who leads me as I keep in step with him, following his promptings and enjoying his conversation.
No wonder that increasingly my desire is simply to 'move with the Presence of God'. The details about what I should be doing next seem not so important as just meeting with God, and drawing closer to him. He knows what's around the corner, and knowing that he will be with me in all my travels makes the journey a lot less stressful, and actually quite exciting.
Thank you Lord for revealing this wonderful truth. Help me now to follow you, to move with your Presence, and to enjoy the warmth of your presence by night and the peace of your protection by day. Holy Spirit, my constant companion, lead me on.
The Lord watches over me— the Lord is my shade at my right hand; the sun will not harm me by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep me from all harm— he will watch over my life; the Lord will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:5-8 (NIV, personalised)