S (Scripture): Exodus 40:34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 But when the cloud was lifted up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on all their journeys; 37 but if the cloud was not lifted up, then they would not journey further until the day it was lifted up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, but fire would be on it at night, in plain view of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…4 In the wilderness John the baptizer began preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…8 [He proclaimed,] “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
O (Observation): God’s people in the Exodus are about to start a new chapter in their lives. And God would be with them in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. The traveling tabernacle is set up and can be taken down and reset anywhere God leads them.
Jesus is coming! A victory is declared! John is the voice crying out that a new day is dawning. And how will they know that God is with them? They will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. God moves from being WITH the people to being IN the people.
A (Application): Every time we embark on a new day (literally or figuratively), we have the opportunity to recall what God’s people have been through over time. The Israelites stepping into a new way of life, post-Exodus. The world receives a Savior in Jesus Christ, at a time when all seems bleak.
We have a promise from God that God will be with us, shaping us along the way. Every time I’ve stepped into something new (marriage, having children, a new ministry), I’ve sensed that God has been with me / us. Being reminded of God’s presence is crucial for our identity. God is WITH us, but also IN us.
Are you having trouble seeing that God is with you on your journey? If so, think about the resources around you (finances, material things, friends, family, good church or school, teachers, coaches, neighbors, health care, daily food, etc.). God is the one who helps to bring all of these resources around us. Those resources give us a tangible reminder that God is present with us, even when we have an unsettled spirit.
Chat with a close friend or family member. Get an outsider’s perspective on your life. See what they have to say. See if they can recognize God’s presence in your life. I think you’ll find their answer to be refreshing and renewing.
P (Prayer): Lord, sometimes we cannot see you in our lives. Thank you for giving us others who can point out your presence when we are blind. Amen.