“On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning,
with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast.
Everyone in the camp trembled”
When the Lord descended onto Mount Sinai to meet with Moses He did so in such a way that the people were terrified. They said to Moses,
“Speak to us yourself and we will listen.
But do not have God speak to us or we will die”
This response stands in stark contrast to their reaction when the Lord led them out of Egypt.
“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud
to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire
to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night”
In the same way the cloud of the Lord’s presence settled on the Tabernacle.
“On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up,
the cloud covered it. From evening till morning
the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire”
At Sinai they were terrified but at other times the presence of the Lord in the cloud was a comfort and assurance of His presence. It was also a guide for them as they moved when He moved and stayed when He stayed.
With the whole Christian Church we look ahead to next Sunday when we celebrate the Day of Pentecost. This is the day when the Lord, in fulfilment of His promise, gave to His people the great gift of the Holy Spirit. He came to be not just with us but to live within us, both collectively as the Body of Christ and individually as well.
This is the same God as the majestic and terrifying God of Sinai. However He now chooses to reveal Himself to us in a different way, a way in which He can work within us and through us – transforming us and reaching out to those around us in love, guidance and healing.
The Israelites could not have left Egypt and found their way to the Promised Land by themselves. So too we cannot find our way out of the bondage of our own lives and into the place that the Lord has prepared for us. We need His help – His involvement, His guidance and His power. With it we need His forgiveness and His healing. This comes through the Holy Spirit who makes our union and relationship with the Lord real, and who gifts, guides and empowers us for the life which God calls us to lead.
Paul puts it clearly for us.
- “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9)
- “those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14)
- “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16)
Ask God to help you to open yourself to the Holy Spirit more and more.
Lord God, thank You for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. Please help me to open myself to His presence, guidance and ministry so that He may be released in ever increasing ways in my life and living. Amen.