Posts Tagged ‘Numbers 9’

Continuing in this series of posts on Knowing God and specifically knowing of His great love for us, we look today at another picture from the Old Testament that give us further insight into the great love of God.

In Exodus 13:21-22, we’re told, ” 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, so as to go by day and night and  He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”

In Numbers 9:17-22   we read the following more specific discussion of the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire:   “Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.  At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped.  Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not journey.  So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the LORD they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the LORD they would journey.  So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. 22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. “

The following can be see about the amazing love of God from these passages of scripture:

  • God is a light to dispel the darkness around us. The Israelites were in the middle of the wilderness.  No street lights cut through the darkness of night.  No lights from far off buildings or roads could be seen.  BUT GOD provided a light for His children, so they would not be left in the dark.  This light could be seen from all over the camp.  It was God’s presence with them, pushing back the darkness.
  • God is a cloud to protect us from the heat. The pillar of cloud provided relief from the scorching desert sun.  The Israelites were in the wilderness in Israel with desert terrain, rocks, few trees and limited relief from the relentless sun for 12-15 hours a day.  Under the cloud, close to God’s presence, the people would have been able to find some relief.  God was the protection from burning, a cool respite, a comfort.  He is that for us as well.
  • God is a guide for us on the path that He has chosen for us. The fool in his rebellion and self-reliance resists the guidance of an almighty and all-knowing God.  God by the picture of the pillar of fire/pillar of cloud shows that He is our guide.  If we will but look up and keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us in the way we should go.
  • God desires to teach us dependence on Him alone. The great love of God is that He desires close and living relationship with us.  The desire for relationship is what caused Jesus to go to the cross, “for the joy set before Him.”  That joy was us, the idea of relationship with us, something never possible without the perfect blood sacrifice to satisfy the law’s requirement for sin.  The pillar of cloud and fire is a picture of the dependence and relationship God is looking for with us, a daily relationship of dependence.  The Israelites didn’t know what they were doing or where they were going each day until they looked up to the presence of God in the camp.  Did the cloud move?  Were they traveling today?  So too with us.  We must have a daily dependence, daily relationship with God.  We must check with Him each day to know how to proceed.

Amazing love . . . that causes a God, who is totally sufficient in Himself, to seek to do for us  what we cannot do for ourselves.  Look to Him!  Rely on Him!  He is faithful.

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