Living Under The Cloud // Part 1
Today, we’re beginning a new study called “Living Under The Cloud,” a teaching about how to live in times of uncertainty. We’ll begin with a lesson on the principle of positioning.
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. /// Exodus 13:21 (NIV)
So why have we titled the series “Living Under The Cloud”? Well, many times in Scripture, God’s presence appears as a cloud so we are using the metaphor of a “cloud” to describe the presence of God. Today, His Presence is known to us in something as mysterious to some as a cloud: the Holy Spirit. Let’s address a question that is pivotal to this series: how do you function during times of uncertainty – when all you have known has been turned upside down? Throughout this series we’ll address this topic to help you since we are definitely going through some uncertain and strange times now. Many people are experiencing unwanted changes and we have lost touch with what was familiar. We are in a period of waiting. There is a sense of losing control, and what is happening reveals a problem we have: the familiar has become our security. We adapt to what is familiar. Adaptation can cause adjustments that create a dependency upon things other than God. Think about the response of the children of Israel when God set them free from Egypt:
They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" /// Exodus 14:11-12 (NIV)
Do you see anything wrong with this? The children of Israel had conformed to what was familiar in such a way that they preferred it to what God was doing among them, preferred it to having to “suffer” in the desert! We are being forced to become people who don’t take our sense of security from what is familiar but from the Lord! Now, we mentioned previously something about the principle of positioning, so let’s first define “positioning”: put or arrange (someone or something) in a particular place or way.
We have always said that we are people of God – under His authority, but now we are living it. God is doing the positioning. He is breaking us free from what is familiar. If you truly want to be a man or woman of God, you must learn to be comfortable with the Lord deciding upon the placement and positioning in your life! All of us are in some unknown waters. Most of us believe that things will soon return to “normal” or what we have been familiar with. Then, we will feel better about things. Well, we need to ask you a few questions:
- What if things never are exactly as they were before?
- What if this is just the beginning of God’s dealing with the body of Christ and the unbelieving world?
- What if we are much more like the children of Israel of Moses’ time than we would like to admit?
You can already see this in many of us. Some are resistant to learning new ways of life because they are waiting for the familiar to return. Not picking on anyone, but a clear example is many elderly are simply refusing to try to learn or figure out technology right now as a means of communicating and staying connected, to the point of missing simple livestreams, because of the argument that we’ll soon return to our previous normal. This is time to realign. Time to center on Jesus as our security instead of waiting for the return of the familiar. The familiar never returned for the children of Israel of Moses’ day. As a matter of fact, the changes that were occurring were actually the fulfillment of prophecy.
Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. /// Genesis 15:13-14 (NIV)
Many are looking behind at what they left when we should be looking ahead to where we are going! It is time to begin to live the way that we have been saying we live all along – in faith and trust in God! To become a people ready to traverse with God at our head! This can seem new and unsettling, but here’s a couple of words to encourage you today:
When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. /// Joshua 3:3-4 (NIV)
Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. /// Matthew 19:27; 29 (NIV)
Join us next week as we continue this study to learn more about our calling as the body of Christ during this time. We’ll be diving into some of these other principles as we move forward this next month: Purpose – Provision – Prayer – Power.
- Exodus 13:21 (NIV)
- Exodus 14:11-12 (NIV)
- Genesis 15:13-14 (NIV)
- Joshua 3:3-4 (NIV)
- Matthew 19:27; 29 (NIV)
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