Exodus 40:38 (HCSB)
38 For the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and there was a fire inside the cloud by night, visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey.
Exodus comes to a close with this very short pericope. But, despite its brevity, the passage brings together the theme of Exodus, and points forward to the journey before the Israelites.
We first see that all the preceding chapters finally culminate with God descending and manifesting among His people in the tabernacle. So much so, that not even Moses can enter the tent of meeting during these times when God filled it. This serves as a reminder of two things:
- We, as sinful, broken, people, cannot enter into the presence of God. It is not that God does not want us to, it is because it is for our own good. But we have a great promise that one day we will be with God, due to the sacrifice of Jesus.
- We should celebrate the completion of God’s work and His plan! Despite all the speedbumps and wrong turns, God gets His people to the finish line. This should bring us hope!
The final three verses demonstrate the following:
- When God moves, we should move. When God is still, we should be still. That’s exactly the situation with the Israelites. When God is manifest and filling the tabernacle, they stay put. When God ascends, and leaves the tabernacle, they move. What could make more sense? When God is with us, we are in the right spot. When God leaves us, we ought to chase after Him, follow Him.
- I love the final part of Exodus 40:38: “visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey.” God is not about hiding. He is visible to us, and as believers we should be even more attuned to His presence. But again, we should find hope and safety that God is with us in the journey He lays before us, just as He was with the Israelites on their journey to the promised land of Canaan.
Lord, thank You for being with us. I pray that we would move when You move, and stay when You are still, always seeking to be near You. Help us to trust in You in our journey, when trials come up, and when things are easy. Amen.