With all of the dysfunctional events taking place in the world today, especially in America, do you ever feel exasperated, alone, frustrated, angry, hopeless? Think about the Israelites leaving Egypt headed to the Promised Land. They lived in tents, carrying their supplies and the tabernacle for 40 years. The disobedient older generation did not make it all the way. But, nevertheless, for the younger generation, they were wandering in the desert for 14,600 days. Most had their family with them the whole way, but can you imagine how they felt? What we mentioned above must’ve been in their heart and mind, in spades! Like most young children on a long car trip, they keep asking, “are we there yet” or “Daddy, when will we be there”?
But they were not alone. God was with them all the way. He was in charge of their travel plans. His second in command, Moses, had his frustrations along the way. One kept him from entering the Promised Land. They were fed daily, plenty of water except when God wanted to test their faith. He sent the quails when they complained about the manna. That’s just the way God is. Grace and mercy are always present. But the one thing that stands out in my mind, and gives me comfort today is this, as it should you. He guarded their day with a cloud in which he was present, and a pillar of fire in the sky by night, in which he was present.
The Israelites called this the ‘Shekinah glory’. It’s not a biblical term, but its root meaning is…dwell among or to dwell or reside. It signified the presence of God to the Jews. Or ‘the glory of God’. It appeared as a supernatural light glowing around religious objects or in natural things like clouds. In Old Testament times it showed divine protection and leadership, a cloud of God’s direction, God’s presence. It was there in the temple above the ark. The Shekinah in the New Testament mentions the same ‘glory of the Lord’ a number of times.
Mt. 17.2- The ‘transfiguration’ of Jesus reflected it…“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shown like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.”
Acts 1.9 – Jesus’ ascension…“And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
Hebrews 1.3 – The supremacy of Christ…“He is the radiance of the glory of God and exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
Revelation 15.8 – The seven plagues…“And the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.”
Revelation 14.14 – The earth’s harvest…“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.”
Revelation 21.10 – The new Jerusalem…“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”
So, what are you facing? As a child of God, you are never alone. His glorious presence ‘Shekinah’ is always there for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. And when you’re really down and out, look up and see the glory of God in his creation. If he can hold that together and make it beautiful, what can he not do with, in and for you?