EXODUS 40:36-38: “In all their travels, whenever the ⌊column of⌋ smoke moved from the tent, the Israelites would break camp. But if the column didn’t move, they wouldn’t break camp. So the LORD’s column stayed over the tent during the day, and there was fire in the smoke at night. In this way all the Israelites could see the column throughout their travels.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: How do we discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Sometimes I think it would be easier if we still had the column of smoke and fire to lead us, like the nation of Israel did. It all seemed pretty clear then. When the column would lift, they would break camp and follow the column. When the column settled they would set up camp. And thus they did for 40 years! The column was able to lead them in their wilderness wandering, but it never was able to change their hearts.
The column was a physical sign of God’s presence. The nation of Israel could only look upon the presence of God, they were not recipients of it. This is the difference between the Old and New Covenant. The cloud represented the presence of the Holy Spirit. When speaking of the Holy Spirit to His disciples, Jesus said…
- “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17 GW)
The difference is significant. Before Jesus’ death and resurrection the Holy Spirit was with them. In essence, Jesus was the manifest presence of God in their midst, much like the column of smoke was in the midst of the nation of Israel. Yet, Jesus spoke of a significant shift that would take place. The presence of God that they looked upon in the life of Jesus, would become the presence of God that they experienced personally in their lives. How could this happen? It would happen when the Holy Spirit was poured out into their lives on the day of Pentecost.
Is it any wonder why Jesus told the disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? How would they know what to do? Where would they find the power to fulfill Christ’s Commission? How could they walk in continual transformation and cleansing? It is only through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit!
- “Once, while he was meeting with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for what the Father had promised. Jesus said to them, “I’ve told you what the Father promises: John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
- “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-5, 8 GW)
The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit was manifested, not in a column of smoke or fire, but in cloven tongues of fire – upon each and every believers head! This was the promise of the Father! This was the promise of God’s presence, not above the tent of meeting, but in each and every heart of those who would believe! This was the promise of guidance, illumination, empowerment, transformation, and comfort! This was the Holy Spirit!
Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon Your people anew and afresh! Baptize me each day with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and the overflowing power of Your love. Set me free, and help me lead others to Your freedom in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit!
In Jesus Name!
- “This Lord is the Spirit. Wherever the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 GW)