As I wait for a phone call, I’ve been reading various and sundry pieces online and considering how to write an upcoming blog entry. I was looking at how Exodus and Leviticus related to each other (important to that upcoming blog entry) and saw these amazing words at the end of Exodus:
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And 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 Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. (Exodus 40:34-38 ESV)
Moses has just followed God’s command to put up the tabernacle, put the ark of the covenant inside it, and then anointed everything with oil. Again, as God commanded. And the cloud settled, and Moses could not go in.
I thought of that cloud, of it being so thick, so heavy, so pungent, that it prevented anyone from going into the tabernacle — the tend of meeting. Of it being hard to see, hard to breathe, hard to know even where your hands or feet were, in a cloud so thick .
Of that cloud being the glory of the Lord.
And that cloud was with Israel everywhere they went. Being with them as a sign they are not to move, and then rising to lead them when they are to move. God in our midst.
Emmanuel — עמנואל. God with us.