“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 Israelites during all their travels.” Exodus 40:38 (NIV) I must admit the visible manifestation of the presence of God that confirmed Israel was precisely where God wanted them makes me envious. By day a pillar of cloud stood over the tabernacle, and at night the pillar of cloud glowed from fire inside the cloud. Any person, anywhere in the Israeli camp, simply had to t step out of their tent and looked toward the tabernacle, and they instantly knew that they were exactly where God wanted them.
During the days of Jesus’ presence on Earth, the cloud confirmation was eclipsed by the very presence of Emmanuel (God with us). Not only was the will of God confirmed by the presence of Jesus, but face to face interaction allowed the followers of Jesus to get person-specific direction from God in the flesh. (Matt. 1:23)
What remnants do we have? We are a privileged generation! As Jesus prepared his disciples for his departure from Earth, he promised, “I will not leave you as orphans: I will come to you. The Holy Spirit…will teach you…and remind you of everything I have said…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:18, 26-27 NIV)
The cloud was a sort of “place marker” and very impersonal. Jesus was only one and could only interact with a limited number of people. The Holy Spirit accompanies every individual who comes to Christ. (Rom. 8:9) Every born again child of God, individually, has the Spirit of Christ to teach and guide them as they follow Jesus.
In the wilderness and during the days of Jesus, those extraordinary manifestations of God were often ignored and that to their peril. May God help us to listen to and follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership! “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14 NIV)