2-17-16. The Cloud And The Fire: God’s Presence And Leading -my devotional

2-17-16. The Cloud And The Fire: God’s Presence And Leading -my devotional

Numbers 9:15-23                            Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 9:23                              2-17-16

“ That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire.

OXYGEN Volume 21

Lord Jesus, thank you for being the shepherd of our lives. Thank you for leading our lives by your sovereign hand. We, like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way. But you lead us. You guide us. When we are not sure of where to go, you are with us, lighting the path. Lord, I trust you with the future. I trust you that you are guiding in the best possible way. Guide my life, family, ministry and church. Guide the missionaries in Canada. Guide our home church. Guide us all the way to yourself and to the everlasting Kingdom of God. Grant me your word in my heart. I pray all of these things in the name of the Shepherd of our souls, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Part 1: The Holy God Is Now Able To Dwell Among His People (15-16)

Verses 15-16, “15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire.
On the day the tabernacle was completed, the glory of the Lord filled it. The tent of the covenant law was the tent of the testimony. It was the place of the Holy of Holies, in which the Ark of the Covenant dwelt. Therefore it was the place where God dwelt, for the tabernacle was built, and the sacrificial system given, so that God might dwell with his people.

God has always longed to dwell among his people. Normally this is impossible because God is extremely holy and human beings are born into sin into a Fallen world. Normally there would be no way for the Holy God to dwell in places that at are not holy. He can not normally dwell in the hearts of sinners nor dwell among them.

But when the way was impossible to dwell among sinners, God made a way. In the Old Testament Era he made a way in the desert, through the Tabernacle and the sacrificial system. This whole system actually points to Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. God made a way for us through the shed blood of Jesus. Because he died for our sins and rose from death, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the hearts of believers (Jn 7:39).. The holy God can now dwell among his people and guide them.

Because God made a way, he is dwelling in us and among us today. He is dwelling in my heart, mind and leading my family, ministry and church. Without Jesus, I am like an orphan, lost in the darkness. But because the Holy Spirit dwells in me, I am led by Jesus. I can pray to him and pour out my heart and anguish and he always guides…always, for he is faithful and he dwells in my heart. He is with me and bringing me all the way to eternal life in the Kingdom God. Thank you Lord, for dwelling in the hearts of sinners who dwell in you, by faith.

Part 2: God Is Leading His People…Trust Him (17-23)

Verses 17-23, “17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.”

“God protected them by day and by night. He planned for them. He chose their camping ground. He decided when they were to march and when they were to rest. According to the Word of the Lord, they journeyed and, according to the Word of the Lord, they abode in their tents.- whether by day or by night, or whether it were two days, or a  month, or a year. This, Israel’s Shepherd led his flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” – Williams. (The Expositor’s Study Bible)

A pillar of cloud by day and a pillar o f fire by night guided and protected the Israelites as they traveled across the desert. The cloud and the fire moved according to the will of God. It was a supernatural phenomenon. The fire and the cloud were the visible evidence of God’s moving and directing his people.

God is never a spectator in his creation and with his people. He leads his people. This teaches us about God’s leading. When the cloud lifted, the Israelites set out on their journey. When the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. They never knew how long they would stay in one place or how long they would travel. They never knew just what direction they would take. But when ever God moved, the people moved with him. God was their guide. He was their shepherd.

Our journey to the Promised Land of the Kingdom of Heaven is such a pilgrimage. We are travelling through this world. We are not promised to live in this world, in our perishable bodies, prone to sickness and death, forever. We are in these jars of clay on a journey to dwell in God’s kingdom forever. He leads us by his word and by his Spirit. He opens doors and shows the path. We, as his people, need to respond leading and follow it. He is leading along the best possible route in life.

People wonder when God wants them to move. This is never easy to ascertain. But one thing is clear, when you follow God’s guidance, you know you are where God wants you, whether you are moving or staying in a single place.

Some people should serve God right where they are. Everyone is physically somewhere at this moment. Instead of getting bogged down, pondering where you should go, we should ask God “What do you want me to do right here?” God has a purpose in placing his people right where they are right. God’s leading in life can be discovered what he wants us to do right now.

Some other people might say, “Go, and let God stop you.” This is also true.

Some people will stay where they are, and serve the Lord, until God gives some clear sign to move. This is more in keeping with this passage.

This is like looking for God’s open doors. We need eyes to see when the pillar of fire and cloud are lifting an on the move. They we need to obey the Lord, and follow him. This is key to living out our faith. It is key for the fruitfulness of any ministry. I believe that the success of the Canada mission is in part due to God revealing to his servants, when to move and when to stay.

I am so thankful that Christ is able to dwell in my heart and that he is leading me along my earthly pilgrimage. There are times when I just need to bow my head and pray to God for answers and guidance. And he always comes through with an answer. The still small voice of the Lord, whispers his truth and guiding light into my heart. God is faithful. I don’t know how people are able to navigate this world and their lives without the Immanuel God. Who do they turn to for answers when they have no answers? Who do they ask for direction in life, when they have no direction, and when the path they have chosen for themselves has led them to a dark place?  Who do people turn to for strength when all of their strength is gone? People need the Lord. And he is never far away. Through faith, he will lead and he will guide.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for dwelling in me by your Sprit and guiding me in this pilgrimage of life. Lord, Please help me to see your guidance and respond with obedient faith in the path you have shown.

One Word: God is with us and he will lead…trust him and follow him.

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