Heads in the Cloud

The Pillar of Cloud By Day

The Pillar of Cloud By Day

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5)

Do you remember in Exodus how God went before the Israelites and supernaturally provided for them? “I don’t want you to be unaware of this,” Paul warns. “I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud.” That cloud was a manifestation of God’s presence. That’s what covers us as well – the very presence of God. Yes, we are quite privileged. Not only can we know God, we can draw near to Him. As we do, He draws near to us!

Those ancient wilderness-wanderers weren’t so privileged. They did have one advantage, though. They could actually see God leading. There was the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. While they could see His presence, no one was allowed near it except for Moses. That didn’t seem to matter, so long as they could keep an eye on God.

Even with His presence within eyesight, the Israelites managed to stray. They fell headlong into idolatry. The big shock came when God said:

“Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:3)

God assured they’d make it to the Promise Land, but they’d no longer have the benefit of His presence. “When the people heard this bad news, they mourned.” (Exodus 33:4) They couldn’t bear the idea of God not being there for them. It grieved them terribly. They didn’t no how to go on without Him.

“I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud,” Paul reminds us. This is written as a wake up call. Yes, we have God’s covering. Indeed, we have His presence. But we’re not to take that for granted. Think of everything God is: love, grace, mercy, joy, peace and hope. These are the perks of His presence! They are there should you choose Him. Stray and you lose them.

I once witnessed to a fellow who had little interest in God. “I’ve been confirmed,” he said. “That’s enough.” The poor guy was certain that he was covered. So thought the Israelites. “We’ve been baptized!” and “We have the Rock!” and “God is right over there!” In their feeble minds they thought that was enough. Such reasoning didn’t turn out well for them.

The lesson for us is -never take God’s covering for granted. Don’t pursue golden calves thinking: “I’m covered.” “I’ve been baptized.” “I’ve got spiritual food.” or even “I’ve got the Rock!” One thing you won’t have is God’s presence. That leaves a huge hole in heart. David learned the hard way after he strayed from God. It totally wrecked him. Once he came to his senses he pleaded with The Lord:

“Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” (Psalms 51:10-11)

Where do you find yourself today? Do you feel distant from God? Are you missing out on His grace and peace? Do you lack joy? Have you lost hope? Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. That’s a promise.

 

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