When God delivered the people of Israel from bondage and slavery in Egypt, He led them to the Promised Land. On their long journey to freedom, they did not have to guess where God wanted them to go because they were led by cloud during the day and by fire at night. The cloud would many times stay over the tabernacle for several days and the Israelites obeyed God and did not set out for the next day’s journey. Sometimes the cloud was only over the tabernacle for an evening, then it would lift and they knew it was time to go. Read Nehemiah 9 sometime to see how faithful God was to the Israelites.
God was faithful to first disciples by sending His one and only Son to dwell with them on this earth. After Jesus called His disciples He spent three years performing miracles and showing them the way to the Father every day. Following Jesus was like the Israelites following God by way of the cloud and fire. If Jesus traveled east, then the disciples did the same. It was the physical manifestation of the Lord. There was no second guessing as to where and what Jesus wanted them to go and do.
God’s provision is just as real today as in the Old Testament and when Jesus was physically here before His death and resurrection. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He left His Holy Spirit to fill us so we can also follow Jesus.
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
When we come into relationship with Jesus by asking Him to forgive us of our sin and we follow Him with our whole heart, then the Holy Spirit fills our heart. As we are filled with God’s Spirit and refrain from those practices that may quench the Spirit, we can follow the path that God has purposed for our lives. The path may seem less clear than following a cloud and fire in the wilderness or walking with the physical Jesus as the first disciples experienced. But we are now indwelt with God’s Spirit. The power to obey and follow Jesus comes from within. We no longer have to follow external signs, we have the Spirit of God living within us and directing our steps to follow His ways.
Practice the presence of Jesus this summer. Don’t get away from the routine of spending time in God’s Word and praying every day. I am so thankful that my God has chosen to fill us with the Holy Spirit and guide us from within. There is power when you saturate in God’s Word and Presence daily.
May God continue to set your hearts on fire for the things that bring life.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene