The Pruning

Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

On the Thoughtfulness of God

In Josh Lim on July 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

by Josh Lim

I remember as a Sunday school student sitting in the NET room on the 3rd floor listening to the story of the Exodus (back then the NET room was actually used for elementary students and it didn’t look like a prison!). The Israelites were made to suffer under the rule of Pharaoh. So God sends Moses to deliver His people out of slavery and bondage. He brings about a series of plagues – an entire assortment of crazy things. There’s a lot of back and forth between Pharaoh and Moses. Then the really cool event of the Passover happens, during which the people of God would mark their doorposts with the blood of a lamb and their household would be spared from experiencing the death of their firstborns. And finally, Pharaoh relents and the people are set free.

And this was where my favorite part of the story occurred. It wasn’t the parting of the Red Sea. It wasn’t the complete ownage of Pharaoh’s army who went back on their word to let the people go and instead chased after the Israelites. But it was the sheer awesomeness of the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire. Can you imagine being there? In the morning, there’s this huge column of cloud leading you. It’s just massive, stretching almost endlessly into the skies above. And at night, there is this blazing cylinder of fire (think Charizard’s Fire Spin x 10,000) – almost like a tornado of flames. And this became a regular sight for the Israelites as they were led by God through the Wilderness for 40 years. And I thought to myself, “That is so cool!” And yet it never occurred to me why God would take up these forms. He could He have chosen anything else – a pillar of lightning or a pillar of cheese. But why a pillar of cloud for the mornings and a pillar of fire for the evenings?

We must remember that the Israelites were travelling through desert climate. The sun beat down without remorse during the day. Its unrelenting rays dried the ground into a cracked mosaic. And the nights were marked by cold darkness as winds ripped through the huddled encampment. It was not an easy place to be in.

So why a pillar of cloud for the mornings and a pillar of fire for the evenings?

Psalm 105:39 says this: “He spread a cloud for covering, and fire to give light by night.”

A pillar of cloud in the morning to cover the people and shield them from the devastating effects of constant, unprotected exposure to the sun. To keep them from fatigue and dehydration. To provide shade and relief in the heat.

And a pillar of fire in the evenings to provide light to see in the thick darkness. To offer warmth during bone-chilling nights. To provide protection from wild beasts, drawn back by the flames.

God is so exceedingly thoughtful. He is utterly intentional in all his dealings. Every detail is carefully calculated and deliberately decided upon. He doesn’t just go off of whims. But he is so purposeful in all that He does. In all His working for your good, He does with measured meaningfulness.

As we walk through the wilderness of life, before we arrive at last in the Promise Land, see how the Lord leads you with pillar of cloud and pillar of fire in the smallest of details. From the college you will be going to in the Fall to the job or internship opportunity that you didn’t get. All the events that took place from the time you woke up today until now, where you are sitting reading this blog post. All these, God has arranged in accordance to his thoughtful wisdom and love.

Let us think upon the thoughtfulness of God.

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