“On the day the tabernacle was put up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, that is, the tent of the testimony; and in the evening, over the tabernacle was what appeared to be fire, which remained until morning. So the cloud always covered it, and it looked like fire at night. Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tent, the people of Israel continued their travels; and they camped wherever the cloud stopped.“-Numbers 9:15-17
Verse 15 of Numbers Chapter Nine brings back to memory an event we first encountered in the Book of Exodus: that of Israel being led by the fire-cloud of Adonai.
The Fire-cloud of Adonai first led Israel from Egypt to Sinai.
Then, it ascended to the top of the mountain where Moses received God’s Holy Teachings (TORAH in Hebrew).
Finally, now that the construction of the Tabernacle has been completed,this is where the Fire-cloud will come to rest until the Tabernacle is replaced by the building of the Temple.
It must have been sooooo reassuring to have this daily visible presence of the Lord while traveling in a barren hostile desert surrounded by enemies.
Personally, when I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances and worried about what’s going to happen in my life, I sometimes feel like I would give anything for just some tangible and visible sign no matter how small that God is watching my back.
Now there is a very important lesson here I want you to catch.
The only reason the Israelites were given the great honor and privilege of having God’s visible presence with them on a daily basis is because THEY OBEYED HIS COMMANDS!
I find it fascinating that PRIOR TO the first Passover in Egypt, we never see the Lord manifesting Himself in the form a fire-cloud.
It was only AFTER God saved His people from bondage that He gave them His HOLY instructions or TORAH and then appeared to them in such an intimate and visible way as the FIRE-CLOUD.
Obedience FIRST and intimacy with God will follow!
What we see here is a perfect picture of a Father lovingly leading, teaching and guiding His children.
Where God went, the people went.
Where God did NOT go, the people did not go.
When God paused, the people paused until the Lord indicated it was time to pick up and move again.
Wouldn’t you love to be directed by the Creator in such an intimate and clear fashion?
Start by obeying His commands to the best of your current ability and knowledge in your present circumstances.
I really feel like the Fire-cloud of Adonai leading His People presents a beautiful pattern that shows us how our walk with the Lord is supposed to be if we obey Him and it’s no accident that this imagery is also brought forward in the New Testament.
For example, Yeshua’s transfiguration occurred in the midst of a cloud and when he ascended, he rose up into the clouds.
And we’re also told, Yeshua will return on a cloud from heaven.
In addition, think about the many Tabernacle metaphors we find sprawled throughout the NT where Paul and Peter liken our human bodies as temporary dwelling places obviously referring to how God’s Spirit temporarily dwelled in the Tabernacle.
Indeed, the Torah is the foundation for ALL the Scriptures.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“‘There he was transfigured before them.
His face shone like the sun, and his clothes
became as white as the light.
Just then there appeared before them
Moses and Elijah, talking with Yeshua.
Peter said to Yeshua,
“Lord, it is good for us to be here.
If you wish,
I will put up three shelters
—one for you, one for Moses
and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking,
a bright cloud covered them,
and a voice from the cloud said,
“This is my Son, whom I love;
with him I am well pleased.
Listen to him!’”
“After he said this,
he was taken up before their very eyes,
and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up
into the sky as he was going,
when suddenly two men dressed
in white stood beside them.
‘Men of Galilee,’ they said,
‘why do you stand here
looking into the sky?
This same Yeshua,
who has been taken from you into heaven,
will come back in the same way
you have seen him go into heaven.’”
“Then will appear the sign
of the Son of Man in heaven.
And then all the peoples of the earth
will mourn when they see the Son of Man
coming on the clouds of heaven,
with power and great glory.”
“For we know that if the earthly tent
we live in is destroyed,
we have a building from God,
an eternal house in heaven,
not built by human hands.
Meanwhile we groan,
longing to be clothed
instead with our heavenly dwelling,
because when we are clothed,
we will not be found naked.
For while we are in this tent,
we groan and are burdened,
because we do not wish to be unclothed
but to be clothed instead
with our heavenly dwelling,
so that what is mortal
may be swallowed up by life.
Now the one who has fashioned
us for this very purpose is God,
who has given us the Spirit
as a deposit,
guaranteeing what is to come.”
-2 Corinthians 5:1-5