On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night
Numbers 9:15–16, ESV
I have often mused about the pillar of cloud and fire over the Tabernacle and in the midst of the people of Israel. It makes me wonder how and why the people of Israel could rebel with such a presence. I could only imagine what it looked like for those that could see it from the surrounding people. We have no such thing in our world today, but that doesn’t mean that God does not give us signs and symbols of His presence. I feel it when I enter into a community of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. There are some gatherings that feel different than others. Having entered into spaces that have been washed in prayer is the most awesome experience. The air feels different, as do the interactions and the sense of peace and comfort. I have also felt the reverse when I entered spaces that seemed to be bereft of God. I have entered into spaces that seemed dark and dank and overwhelming with sadness and hopelessness. Sometimes we can take God for granted, as I think the people of Israel seemed to do. God is not a genie to do our will, but we are His people called to follow His. As the people of Israel rebelled, they seemed to rebel because they misunderstood the promises of God and thought that the promises of God were something owed to them. How little has changed in our world since this time? Yet, God does send us a sign as He ignites the fires of faith in the tabernacles of our hearts and gives us the feeling of His presence as we pray and stand firm in His Word. His presence is made known as we seek Him and connect with others in the faith through prayer and supplication. It may not be as clear of a sign as the pillar, but as a follower of Christ, there is some attraction that our Lord provides as we stand connected in the faith. Let that guide us in our fellowship with one another.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.