Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27: 1
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“During the day the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night He went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day.”
Exodus 13: 21
Good News Bible
“The Pillar of Cloud and Fire” Part 2
“He will cover you with His wings; you will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you.”
Psalm 91: 4
Good News Bible
Is there a specific incident in my life where I have been aware of my Father’s protective care?
What is there in my life at this time that I need my Father’s protection regarding?
“This is a wise, sane Christian faith: that a man (woman) commit himself (herself), his (her) life, and his (her) hopes to God; that God undertakes the special protection of that man (woman); that therefore that man (woman) ought not to be afraid of anything.” - George MacDonald
“He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.”
Proverbs 2: 8
It was a cloud which provided cover in the day from the desert heat. And then at night, this protective shield, became a fiery shelter, which illuminated the darkness of the desert landscape, protecting God’s children from moving in the wrong direction or into an ill-advised place during the extreme dark of night.
As we studied yesterday, the pillar of cloud and fire served as the guiding presence of God to the children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings, helping to point them in God’s chosen pathway.
Today, we are going to look at another vital function associated with the pillar of cloud and fire – and this was the service of the cloud and fire as a protection to God’s children.
Out in a barren, unfamiliar land, just think how you would have felt, with the piercing rays of the sun casting heat on you in the day and then the cold and lonely evening darkness encroaching upon you at night.
I don’t know about you, but the assurance of God’s presence as a protective cover would certainly have comforted me and lightened my way. The knowledge that seeing the pillar of cloud in the day and the pillar of fire at night was an assurance of God’s continual presence and would encourage me to say with a grateful heart:
“There is no place where God is not,
Wherever I go, there God is.
Now and always He upholds me with His power
And keeps me safe in His love.”
We find in the book of Exodus that God’s children were able to witness tangible evidence of His “protective” presence. In Exodus 14: 19-20 (K.J.V.), when the army of Pharaoh descended upon God’s children trapping, them between on-coming chariots and the Red Sea, we are told that, “the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” This protective wall provided light and vision to God’s children and left darkness and confusion blanketing the army of the Egyptian enemy. As I read this passage, I wondered to myself, “How many times has God’s protective wall sheltered me, providing light for my way, and at the same time, kept the enemy from taking advantage of my weaknesses.
For you see, God’s protective covering of His children in the desert not only served to defend them from outside forces of evil, but we must also remember that God’s protection, preserved them from the false and futile steps they could easily have taken on their own.
I’ll never forget going out into the desert one evening with a group of friends. We had no idea where we were walking, and in the dark, one false step could take us into terrain that was harmful. Well, sure enough, trying to navigate in territory that was totally unfamiliar proved to be downrightly stupid and I got my foot and leg stuck in a clump of “jumping cactus” – an extremely unpleasant situation, to say the least!
Not only did God’s presence, by a covering of protective cloud shelter His children in the day, but also under the cover of darkness, when God’s children could not see clearly, it was God’s protective fire which gave off light to protect them from themselves – and how thankful I am to know that I can trust my Father, not only from those dangers I can see, but also those hindrances I am completely unaware of.
All through Scripture, our hearts can be encouraged as our heavenly Father reminds us of His protective covering which surrounds each one of us.
I’d like to share with you just a few of God’s precious promises, call them His “guarantees” of His everlasting protection:
“The eternal God is thy refuge.” (Deut. 33: 27.)
“My hiding-place.” (Psalm 32: 7.)
“A stronghold in the day of trouble.” (Nah. 1: 7.)
“A refuge from the storm.” (Isa. 25: 4.)
“A refuge for the oppressed.” (Psalm 9: 9.)
“A refuge in the day of trouble.” (Psalm 59: 16.)
“In the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” (Psalm 63: 7.)
“Under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (Ruth 2: 12.)
“I flee unto Thee to hide me.” (Psalm 143: 9.)
“Thy right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139: 10.)
“Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe.” (Psalm 119: 117.)
“I said ‘my foot slippeth’; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.” (Psalm 94: 18.)
What a Protector! What a Refuge! My Hiding-Place! And my Stronghold!
“Alone with none but thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear, when thou art near
O king of night and day?
More safe am I within thy hand
Than if a host did round me stand.”
The Pilgrimage of Life
“Pilgrim God, there is an exodus going on in my life: desert stretches, a vast land of questions. Inside my head your promises tumble and turn. No pillar of cloud by day or fire by night that I can see. My heart hurts at leaving loved ones and so much of the security I have known. I try to give in to the stretching and the pain. It is hard, God, and I want to be settled, secure, safe and sure. And here I am feeling so full of pilgrim’s fear and anxiety.
O God of the journey, lift me up, press me against your cheek. Let your great love hold me and create a deep trust in me. Then set me down, God of the journey; take my hand in yours, and guide me ever so gently across the new territory of my life.” - Joyce Rupp
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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