Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The presence of God

I am pondering Exodus 40 and Acts 12 today. What I am particularly struck by is the different way that the people perceive the presence and leading of God. Here's what I mean:

In Exodus there is the cloud of presence of God. This cloud rests on the tabernacle and so long as the cloud is present on the tabernacle they people stay where they are. However, when the cloud lifts the tabernacle is dismantled and the people move out to their new camp location. All of this is happening while they are on their way to the promised land. This is a pretty good system of communication. Cloud present we say, cloud on the move we are on the move. Noone could ever say "we can't figure out what God wants us to do." At least not in the sense of God's day to day calling on their lives.

Then we move to post-Pentecost in the book of Acts. The spirit speaks but there are no clouds. The spirit leads Phillip to present the Gospel to an Ethiopian, the spirit leads Saul to be converted -- but gives a vision to a man named Annanias (Acts 9) to come and pray for Saul so he can see again. There are no pillars of cloud nor are there pillars of fire. There is the leading of the Holy Spirit directing the early church in thier mission and work.

We don't need the bombastic clouds and pillars of fire to teach us what God is doing. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I need to listen to the Holy Spirit within me, to lead me, to guide me, and to put me on the paths that more greatly glorify him.

What is the Holy Spirit leading you to be a part of? If you are a Christ Follower, those promptings and urgings are leading you to a deeper life in God and a greater mission in the world.

dr. bj

No comments: