Today's Foundations Devotional: Baptism in the cloud
By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing
through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
The historical account of Israel passing under the cloud and through the sea is described in Exodus. After the sacrifice of the Passover lamb in Egypt, the Israelites began their exodus from Egypt the same night. When they came to the Red Sea, they miraculously passed through it, as on dry land. The first mention of their passing under the cloud is found in Exodus 13:20-21.
So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
Paul says, “All our fathers were under the cloud” (1 Cor. 10). This leads us to understand that at a certain point on Israel’s journey out of Egypt, this unique, supernatural cloud came down over them from above and continued to rest over them.
Clearly this cloud was sensibly perceptible to Israel, and it took two different forms. By day it was a cloud, giving shadow from the heat of the sun. By night it was a pillar of fire, giving both light and warmth in the darkness and coldness of the night. By day and by night, it provided Israel with divine direction and guidance. The Lord Himself – Jehovah – the great Angel of God – was in the cloud and moved in the cloud. It was in the cloud that He moved over Israel from their front to their rear and in the cloud that He interposed His own presence between Israel and the Egyptians, to separate and protect His own people from their enemies.
The cloud had a very different meaning and effect for the Egyptians. For the Egyptians, “it was a cloud and darkness,” but to Israel it “gave light at night” (Ex. 19:20). This cloud was darkness to Egypt, the people of this world; but it was light to Israel, the people of God.
Furthermore, when daylight came, the cloud was even more fearful for the Egyptians. As we read earlier:
The Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians (v. 24).
We have said that this cloud is a type or picture of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Let us now set out briefly, in order, the facts which we know about this cloud and see how perfectly each one of them applies to the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
1. This cloud came down over God’s people from above, out of heaven.
2. It was not merely an invisible influence, but it was sensibly perceptible.
3. It provided shadow from the heat by day and light and warmth by night.
4.It gave God’s people divine direction and guidance throughout their journeyings.
5. Within the cloud was the presence of the Lord Jehovah Himself, and it was in the cloud that the Lord came personally to the rescue of His people from their enemies.
6. The cloud gave light to the people of God, but to their enemies the same cloud was something dark and fearful. As Paul says in (1 Cor. 2:14): The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
7. The cloud came between God’s people and their enemies, thus separating and protecting them.
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your baptism in the Holy Spirit
assuring me here and now - in the desert of this life - of Your
glorious personal presence; You Yourself, with me! You are my
Comforter, my shadow against the heat when there is trouble, and
my light in every darkness! Hallelujah! Amen.