Sunday, 21 August 2022
Psalm 105:39 “He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to give light in the night.”
Psalm 105 is a Psalm of praise that focuses on the positive experiences of God’s people in their early history. This poem celebrates God’s faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham and the lives of His people. From the key verse, we see how God gave clear command to His people during their journey after deliverance.
One of my brothers worked in the Military in their signals division which is the command centre of the Armed Forces. The command centre plays a vital role - be it the battle field or administrative and governmental bodies. There are communication channels and systems which allow decision makers to pass information and communicate from any location to any command post. We can term it as “Sensitive information management” in modern terminology. The command centre can pass the message in different forms of signals which the enemy will not identify easily. Having this in the back of our mind, let us meditate today’s scripture and understand how God’s strategy worked in history.
God revealed his divine presence and protection to His people by leading them out of Egypt and through the Sinai desert by appearing as (i) a Pillar of Cloud by day and (ii) a Pillar of Fire by night. “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, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. (Exodus 13:21–22)
YHWH, the God of the Bible, manifested Himself in this pillar of fire or cloud in order to directly guide and comfort His people while He rescued them from their slavery. Throughout the Israelites’ time in the desert, traveling from Egypt to Canaan (The Promised Land), YHWH continually used this pillar of fire and cloud to lead His people and remind them of HIS presence. When the pillar of God moved forward, the people of Israel would pack up their camp and follow behind it. Similarly, when the pillar of God's presence stopped, the Israelites would set up camp underneath it. The Tabernacle of the Lord would be set up directly underneath the cloud of the Lord. This way, God's presence was visibly in the center of the camp at all times.
In addition to guidance, the pillar was a testimony to other nations concerning God’s involvement with and the protection of His people. The pillar is a picture of God’s faithfulness and a lesson to us that God never leaves nor forsakes His people. He reminds us of this in Hebrews 13:5-6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.”
We must understand that all the promises were to the children of Israel and the children of Israel in the OT is a shadow of the church in the NT. From the time the children of Israel set their feet out of Egypt, we see God directing and guiding them through the wilderness into the Promised Land. In the same way, He directs and guides the church through its wilderness journey on this earth into the Promised Land- heaven.
Blessing and Admonition: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5: 23-24).