The cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. Exodus 40:38
On January 28, 1986, the US Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart seventy-three seconds after takeoff. In a speech of comfort to the nation, President Reagan quoted from the poem “High Flight” in which John Gillespie Magee, a World War II pilot, had written of “the high untrespassed sanctity of space” and the sense of putting out his hand to touch “the face of God.”
Although we can’t literally touch God’s face, we sometimes experience a stunning sunset or a place of meditation in nature that gives us an overwhelming sense that He’s near. Some people call these moments “thin places.” The barrier separating heaven and earth seems to grow a little thinner. God feels a little closer.
The Israelites may have experienced a “thin place” as they sensed the nearness of God in the desert wilderness. God provided a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to lead them through the desert (Exodus 40:34–38). When they were staying in the camp, “the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (v. 35). Throughout all their travels, they knew God was with them.
As we enjoy the incredible beauty of God’s creation, we grow conscious that He’s present everywhere. As we talk with Him in prayer, listen to Him, and read the Scriptures, we can enjoy fellowship with Him anytime and anywhere.
What places in nature make you feel especially close to God? How can you seek Him anytime and anywhere?
Father, help me to seek and find You even when I’m lost in a desert wilderness.
The tabernacle (tent of meeting) was the place where God dwelled (Exodus 25:8). The book of Exodus devotes many chapters to this portable sanctuary that served as a place of worship in the desert and in Israel until Solomon built the temple. In Exodus 24–31 instructions for the tabernacle’s structure and its furnishing are given in minute detail. Then in chapters 35–40 we read how all these directions were carried out by the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Exodus 39:32–40:37 details the dedication of the tabernacle. It was completed according to God’s directions to Moses in the beginning of the second year after the Israelites escaped out of Egypt (40:2, 17). When everything was in place, the cloud covered the tabernacle where God’s glory dwelled (v. 34). The cloud had directed the Israelites’ travels throughout their wilderness wanderings (vv. 34–38; see 13:21; Nehemiah 9:12, 19).