Fire was over it by night

Exodus 40:38
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.

When you were a child, were you ever afraid of the dark? Did you then always need a nightlight on, or perhaps a door left open into a hallway so you could see your parents’ room? Most kids go through such a time, and I imagine there are more than a few adults who still need the assurance of a light on somewhere in the house. There is a sort of mental security to be found in such a simple thing as a nightlight.

Through their forty years of wanderings, the Israelites of the exodus always had such a light. In today’s verse, we read that the Lord’s presence was always above the tabernacle, day or night. That column reached high enough that all of the million-plus people could see it, every tribe, family, and tent. So long as the pillar of cloud was there during the daytime, or the pillar of fire was visible by night, the wandering Israelites were assured that the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob had neither left them nor forsaken them. But more than that, this supernatural column of cloud and fire also announced God’s presence to their would-be ENEMIES, and so they were protected by His mere appearance among them.

Today, we may not have such a bright and impressive indication of the Lord’s presence among us all the time, but He IS still with us. To those whom He has chosen and who have chosen Him, the Lord God has sent His Holy Spirit. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, we read:

Acts 2:3-4
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Rather than God residing among His chosen people in one place, He has now chosen to reside inside each one of us. Our bodies have become the new tabernacle of meeting, the place where we have access to the holy of holies simply by prayer and meditation and constant attention to the will and Word of God. We can rest in the assurance that God indeed has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us by day and by night, to reside within us whether we move or rest in His will.

And will our enemy see this inner fire? Satan certainly does see the presence of God within us, but the accuser is not so easily shaken by such a thing. The devil may not attack us right away, but, as Peter reminds us, even with the Holy Spirit inside us, we must still be watchful:

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

So, dear ones, even though we may not have that impressive column of fire hovering over our homes, we can know that the Lord God is still with us, wherever we may be. For those who have chosen His Son Christ Jesus, His Spirit will protect and guide us, day or night, throughout all our journeys.

Lord God, I praise You for the Holy Spirit You have given to be within us. Thank You, Father, for Your guidance and the assurance of Your continuous presence. I pray, Lord, that You will shine forth in my life as a beacon for others who do not know You, so that they may be drawn to Your light and be saved by the blood of Your precious Son. All glory and praise be Yours forever. Amen.


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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