Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Clouds of Glory

Now on the day that the tabernacle was raised up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the Testimony; from evening until morning it was above the tabernacle like the appearance of fire. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 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. Numbers 9:15-19 (NKJV)

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. John 17:15-17 (NKJV)

The earthly world is not our home, Jesus tells His followers. It’s merely a place of residence as we journey toward heaven. But while living here, we are to be salt of the earth and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16). We are an appointed people, a generation chosen to tell the good news of the Savior Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:9, John 3:16).

The Israelites too were a favored people, elected by God to shine for His glory. He chose Abraham and his lineage through Isaac to be a light to all the nations. Whether through His people’s rebellion, hardship, or blessings, God’s Presence remained with His people (even when they did not recognize Him). 

After generations of Hebrews spent time enslaved in Egypt, God called Moses to lead them on a three day journey out into the wilderness to worship and sacrifice to the Lord God. Eventually the miracles of the Exodus occurred and a promised land awaited them. But in the meantime, in the waiting period between miracles and promises—the wilderness—God commanded His people to be holy, sanctified, and set apart. In the desert He taught them how to worship the One True God.

While in the wilderness, God reigned among His people in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night. His glory descended from heaven and tabernacled (or lived) among them in the Tent of Meeting (worship center). Whenever Moses walked out of that sanctuary having spoken with God, He glowed with glory. When he met God in a cloud high upon a mountain, he radiated God’s glory. God’s Temple overflowing with a cloud represented God’s glory tabernacling with His people. And they were light to the world.

Today this world seems to be getting darker and darker. Have God’s people allowed their light to grow dim? Like the Israelites who rebelled against God’s commands and assimilated with the surrounding pagan nations, are Jesus followers allowing the world’s truth to supersede the Lord’s Truth? Without the Truth of God’s Word, people go astray. Whether rebels or aimless fans of the latest fads, many roam this earth without direction. But believers of God’s Word stand firm on truth, ready to shine for His glory. 

I witnessed an example of God’s people standing on His Truth and shining for Him this week. Christian students at a college nearby set up tents and assembled together for three days and nights during a festival focused on Christ. They chose to be bright lights for their peers, displaying the difference Jesus makes in people’s lives. A plethora of worldly views daily inundates college students prompting an upsurge in the latest trends. The Christian students desired to present to fellow students this Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) and who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Round the clock prayer, tents, food, coffee, free shirts, concerts, and worship music—weeks of planning went into the preparation for this 24/7 event. Clouds, rain, wind, and cold—unplanned weather appeared to wreak havoc on each day’s planned outdoor activities. From the outside looking in, all seemed hopeless. Yet on the inside of the tents, radiant faces of students beamed with excitement about the chance to share the gospel with other people (Matthew 19:26).

Seeing raised tents on this college campus reminded me of the meaning of the Israelites’ celebration of Feast of Tabernacles. They assembled tabernacles or tents to occupy during the week long feast. This festival celebrated God’s past provision during the forty year sojourn in the wilderness, observed God’s present provision of a completed harvest, and anticipated future crops with prayers for rain. The Israelites remembered and worshipped an ever present God in their lives.

Spiritually speaking, I knew in my heart that God revealed to me the sacred truths of the Feast of Tabernacles in order to uplift and inspire these college students. As they erected their tents in the rain and under cloud cover, God reminded me of His faithfulness from Biblical times to the present. I then encouraged them with the truth of God’s mercy continuing to rain down upon His creation for planned growth in His name (Jeremiah 29:11-12).

God desires to loosen up hearts so seeds of truth can be implanted in the minds of searching people (Jeremiah 29:13-14). Just as He reigned in the cloud over the tabernacle in the desert, His Presence lingered over the tents of a college campus during cloudy days. His blessings rained down in many ways as the students recognized His provision. He provides grace for people everywhere when their hearts seek truth. And He is available, come rain or shine.

You, O Lord, are the light to my heart and soul. You shine through the clouds over my life. Help me to shine for Your glory! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 (NKJV)   


  1. Hi, Deborah! I finally made it to your blog. I love this post, and the message within - God's glory shines through His people in the darkest hours, and always will. What an encouragement to know that there are godly young men and women making a difference in the college campuses today. Congratulations on a beautiful blog - may God continue to use you for His glory! Your sister in Christ and fellow writer,
    Patricia Holbrook

    1. Patricia, yes I was so inspired as I watched these students in the wind and rain continue with gladness their task of witnessing for Christ. Thank you for the encouragement about this post and the blog. I greatly appreciate it!

  2. Don't you just love it when God walks you though and teaches you at that same time? This outreach is beautiful. Looks like God has strategically placed you in the center of what He is doing on that campus. Big hands and big hearts comes to mind when I am reading about this experience. I love the thrust forward under the cloud. God's work fits you very well. You are shining brightly. Thank you again for a well written blog and a clearer understanding of our brief stay in this world.

    1. Yes yes yes, always learning from my wonderful Teacher and feeling very encouraged by you. Thanks, Johnnie, for always allowing Jesus to shine through you to others.