May 14, 2011

Nights are dark. Sometimes they can be long; very long. Looking at some verses in the Bible that refer to night, I found how much God is involved in our lives, even in the night.  Here’s what I found:

GOD’S PEACE: Psalm 4:8: “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Praise God that HE gives us peaceful sleep!
GOD’S PRESENCE: Exodus 13:21,22: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light,…He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.” Praise God for His presence with us  – 24/7.
GOD’S PROVISION: Job 35:10: “…God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.” Praise God that HE gives songs in the night!
GOD’S PROMISE: Psalm 30:5: “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Praise God that HE promised that the morning will bring joy to replace our tears!
GOD’S PROTECTION: Psalm 91:4,5: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.” Praise God that HE protects us day and night!
GOD’S PLAN: Psalm 119:148: “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” Praise God that we can meditate on HIS word when we can’t sleep!

Next time our night seems too long, let’s rest in His peace; thank Him for His presence, protection and provision, and rejoice in His promise that joy WILL come in the morning!


April 7, 2011

Reading in Exodus about God’s presence in the cloud, (see “Is God a Cloud?” posted April 4, 2011) I researched different passages about the pillar of cloud. Reading the last verse in Exodus, in awe of our faithful God, all I could whisper is “WOW!” Here are the thoughts that led me to that expression of praise…

At the beginning of their journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land, it is written that “He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.” (Ex. 13:22). The last verse of Exodus reads: “For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” (Ex. 40:38)

What’s so amazing about that? God’s people miserably failed Him time and time again. They doubted Him; they fussed, complained and whined. They sinned and disobeyed Him. God even got so frustrated with them after the Golden Calf Incident that He would have destroyed them had it not been for Moses’ intercession. Yet in all of this, that cloud representing God’s presence was up there! It was within eyesight of every person, every day! God NEVER departed from them. He was with them “throughout all their journeys”, NOT because they deserved His presence, but because HE WAS FAITHFUL to His plan to get them to the Promised Land, and to be with them every step of the way.

Then I thought about my life. Like the wandering Israelites, I doubt, complain, sin, and disappoint God way too often. Even with all of my failures, because God is faithful to keep all of His promises, He is with me! In fact, the promise that Jesus made to His apostles in Matthew 28:20 is still valid and applicable to all of His followers:  “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” NOT because we deserve it, but because HE IS FAITHFUL to His plan. He will fulfill the promise of His presence with us “throughout all our journeys”, until we see Him face to face. Now isn’t that something to praise Him for??


April 4, 2011

Recently one of my co-workers told me that her four-year old, TJ, asked her: “Mommy, is God a cloud?”, and she related more of the questions TJ had in the course of their conversation: “Why can’t we see God?…Where is He?…Who made God?…” The concept of our all-present, eternal, invisible God was quite mind-boggling to little TJ….in fact, sometimes it is for us, too! An answer that the Bible gives us is that “No, God isn’t a cloud, but sometimes He used a cloud to represent His presence to His people.” Here are a few examples from the book of Exodus, when God’s people were heading towards the Promised Land:

GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD FOR GUIDANCE: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way….He did not take away the pillar of cloud…from before the people.”(13:21-22)

GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD FOR PROTECTION: As they were “stranded” between the pursuing Egyptian army and the Red Sea, God moved that pillar of cloud to protect His people: “And the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud of darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near to the other all that night.” (14:19-20)

GOD’S GLORY REVEALED IN A CLOUD:  “Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days…” (24:16-18)

GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD MOTIVATED WORSHIP: “…when Moses entered the tabernacle…the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped…” (33:9-11)

No, TJ, God is not a cloud, and today we don’t have a special cloud to guarantee God’s presence with us; but like thousands of years ago, God’s presence still guides us and protects us; His glory is revealed through His presence. We don’t see a special cloud with our eyes like His people did back then, but by faith we believe His words: “…He Himself has said ‘I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.’ “ (Hebrews 13:5) …and THAT motivates our worship!

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