by Heather Tietz
The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night: the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, didn’t depart from before the people.
When the Israel people fled Egypt, God was with them. Because God is spirit, He manifest Himself in visible things, like cloud, so the people could see that He was truly there and could truly trust Him. When they feared, they’d die for lack of food, when they gathered their gold to build a calf god to worship, when they shook in fear at the stories of giants dwelling in the Promised Land, God’s cloud was there.
God’s presence was visibly there, each time they moaned, quaked, felt dejected, angry or abandoned. In spite of their feelings, God never departed. In spite of their blindness He remained right in front of them.
Later on in Israel, God manifest Himself in a closer way, a more tangible way. He came as Jesus, Immanuel, “God with us”. He was not simply visible at a distance, but walking, talking, and eating beside us. Yet His closest friends still feared, complained, argued and sinned right in front of Him.
We stand 2000 years from when Jesus walked the earth. To those that love Him, He is closer than ever, not in a distant cloud, or even a nearby friend, but an inner counselor, whispering to our consciences, comforting us in our sadness, replacing fear with peace, prompting praise, reminding us to thank, giving wisdom, helping us love. Next time you stumble, remind yourself that God is with us. God is with you.