Obedience, Presence, and Guidance

Thus Moses did; according to all that the LORD had commanded him, so he did. … Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

Exodus 40:16, 34

Chapter forty of Exodus is a series of Moses-did-exactly-what-God-told-him events. The result of all that obedience comes in verse thirty-four: the glory of the Lord descends on the tabernacle.

While the Christian does not have a tabernacle, the Christian is called the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, I’m going to extract a principle from these verses—this chapter, really—and apply that principle to my own walk with God. The principle is (drum roll, please): Obedience results in God’s presence and guidance.

See, this glory of the LORD that filled the tabernacle served two purposes for Israel. First, it let them know that God was with them. In a world where God’s very existence is questioned regularly, a reminder of His presence is not only helpful, it can be vital. But the only way I’m going to have that presence evidenced in my life is the same way God’s glory descended on the tabernacle: obedience. I must be obedient if I want to see God’s presence evidenced in my life. Second, God’s glory descending on the tabernacle was a guide to Israel during their wanderings. The glory stopped and came down when it was time to stop and the glory went up and moved when it was time to move. If I want God’s guidance when it’s time to move past where I am now, I best be obedient to what I know to do now. People often wonder what the will of God is for them in some future circumstance, but we haven’t stopped to wonder whether or not we’re being obedient to the will of God in the here and now. We wonder where God wants us to live, but are we serving Him and being the light He has commanded us to be where we are right now? We wonder what job God wants us to do, but don’t stop to ask whether or not we’re doing our current job “as unto the Lord.” The list goes on and on and on. We want to know about some future will of God, but don’t trouble ourselves with the here and now will of God.

God’s presence and guidance — I want both of these in my life. In order for both to be present, I must be obedient here and now.

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