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Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Pillar of Cloud

by Suzie Johnson

How many times have you heard someone say they wished God were standing right in front of them so they could ask him what to do? Have you said it yourself? I know I have.

Would it really make a difference? I know we all want to shout a resounding, “YES, of course it would make a difference.”

But would it really?

Consider Adam and Eve for a moment. They walked with God in the garden. Side by side.

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
~~Genesis 3:8

Somehow, I missed this the first twenty or so times I read this. They walked with God in the garden. They spent time in his very physical presence. At least, we know for sure Adam did, because God brought the animals to him so he could name them. And Genesis 3:9 says God called out to the man, “Where are you?”

It seems as if God was used to interacting with them on a regular basis. Yet they still were faced with temptation and gave in.

Now consider the Israelites as they fled the Egyptians. They were constantly in the presence of God. He appeared to them as a pillar of cloud by day to guide them on their way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light. Exodus 13:22 says, “Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

How reassuring that sounds. I just love the image it conjures up in my mind. A pillar of cloud. Can you imagine walking through your day with God going ahead of you in the pillar of cloud, leading the way? Standing watch over you at night in his pillar of flame?

I wonder sometimes…if Adam and Eve hadn’t of sinned, would God still be walking beside man in the physical sense? Would that make a difference in how we respond to everyday situations? It didn’t make a difference to the Israelites. They still sinned and disappointed the Lord.

When I recently read the scripture of God appearing in a pillar of cloud, I thought back to my childhood. I remember so many times where I would lay on a grassy hill on a sunny day, watching the fluffy white clouds roll by and imagine all kinds of animals in their shapes. I’m sure you did that, too.

I can remember looking for God in those clouds, trying to see him, trying to see his angels, never realizing at that time, that he was right here in front of me. Always with me. And later, living in me.

I pray that my eyes, that your eyes, that the eyes of those we love, will be open wide and able to see him walking with us.

Just for fun…do you ever look for shapes in the clouds? If so, what was the most memorable one you’ve seen? Or what was the most recent one you saw?

8 comments:

  1. Hi Suzie,

    So happy your here today. Yay!!! This summer my husband took a picture of a very cool dragon cloud.

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  2. Hi Dina. Thanks! I would love to see that dragon cloud picture. I didn't put any cloud pictures up today, because they all failed in comparison to the imagination...and to the real thing. I'll bet yours doesn't, though.

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  3. Suzie, it always amazes me how the Israelites kept forgetting God when he did miracle after miracle for them. It's so easy to judge, isn't it? Because I need a reminder daily myself. After all He's done for me, I still focus on Me First!

    I recall my grandmother being a very dedicated cloud watcher. Thanks for the reminder of that. A few years ago, my friends and I were at the Wright Memorial Park at Kitty Hawk. A cloud above us was in the shape of a perfect long feather. It looked like a quill. We captured it on camera. How cool to be at the 'birthplace' of human flight and see a feather in the sky!

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  4. Deb, it amazes me, too. I like to think I wouldn't be like they were, but I suspect I would. I know miracles or indications of God's glory happens right in front of me all the time and I just don't see it. We are human like they were.

    Cool on the quill cloud.

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  5. Suzie, great post! Thanks for the reminder.

    It is astonishing that God's presence was *right there* with the Israelites, physically visible, and they still strayed. Yet I know He's with me and I stray, too. Sometimes I do a pretty good job of ignoring Him.

    The coolest cloud I *didn't* see firsthand was photographed by a friend of my husband's: it seriously looks like an open palm with fingers curling upward. Like God's hand!

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  6. Hi Susie D!

    One thing about the Israelites I always think, it must have been scary for them. Especially since they didn't have the volumes of rexsources we do today. I find it so comforting that God revealed his presence to them the way he did.

    Everyone has an awesome cloud picture but me. Mine are so boring. I never have the camera at the right time.

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  7. So glad to have you back with us, Suzie Jo! Good post.

    I saw a cloud once that looked like the Stay Puft Ghost from Ghostbusters.

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  8. Hi Lisa! Thanks so much. It's good to "see" you, too.

    On my way home from work yesterday, there was a giant gray cloud that looked like a comic book duck speeding along and suddenly taking a nose-dive.

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