So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in all the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. –Exodus 40:38
I started reading Exodus a while ago, then got distracted with other chapters in the Bible. Over the past two days, I returned to it and finished it. Today as I read, I honestly got kind of bored. The technical parts of Exodus make my eyes kind of glaze over, but I trudged through praying for God to reveal something to me in this. And He did, in the last verse of Exodus (above).
In the beginning of Exodus, we see the Israelites living as slaves under the Egyptians. The writer of Exodus describes the mistreatment and how the Egyptians really despised the Israelites. Despite their best efforts, the tribes of Israel continued to grow as promised by God to Abraham. God then calls Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Out of Egypt, to the promised land. First, though, God hardens the Pharaoh’s heart and wreaks havoc on the Egyptians in the form of plagues. These are the chapters I love – it’s so exciting to see God’s work! And then the Pharaoh releases the Israelites, but quickly changes his mind and pursues them. So God uses Moses to part the Red Sea so the Israelites can escape. The Israelites witness so many amazing works of God…yet still forget about him and turn to idolatry once they’ve reached safety and a little time has passed. They make complaints, despite their freedom. They question God’s will, despite witnessing all that He has done to free them.
Don’t we do the same? Isn’t it hard sometimes to really appreciate all of the wonderful, miraculous creations of God? We just take it for granted. God breathed life into every single thing on this planet! But we tend to forget that, or don’t really think of it, in the mundane routines of our lives. Many of us have very specific times we witnessed God in our lives, performing wondrous tasks! Yet, we forget. We get impatient in waiting. We set our sights on things of this world. We engage in idolatry (hello, iPhone…anyone?).
When I read Exodus, sometimes I am judgmental. HOW can you forget those crazy plagues that broke your chains?! And then today, writing and reading, God nudged me. HOW can I forget… It’s our nature. God knows this about us, even better than we do. In our sin, He calls us to repent. But He never, ever leaves us…even in times we may forget Him. He’s always there. He guides us with a cloud by day and a fire at night. HE is always present. If we aren’t seeing/hearing him, it’s time to STOP. Be still. Seek Him. Repent. Embrace His love and forgiveness. Set out again, with Him, on the unique path He created for us.