The scripture reading for today is from Psalm 99
“...He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them. Lord our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds. Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy.”
The Israelites were so lucky that they had a clear vision of God in the pillar cloud!! I wonder if the visibility of God made it less likely for them to fall into worship of other things? Idolatry is a human tendency, so they did not obey perfectly. Sometimes our idols are tangible: addiction to food, alcohol, or drugs. Sometimes they are intangible: obsessive thoughts, jealousy, and anger. A famous psychologist, V Frankl, once wrote that “Prison bars imagined are no less solid steel.” The intangible idols we worship can often be as powerful as any physical addiction. But He asks us to give these up for Him. True, we don’t have the pillar of cloud to inspire us as we fight our battles- but we do have Christ in us the hope of glory.
In the above passages, the Israelites were asked to worship God in the “desert of their confusion” and to follow the pillar. In a similar way, our present day suffering causes us to turn to Him in our desperation. Any idols we have been hiding will fall away as we cling to Him. He can use all things, even suffering, to turn us toward Him. The weaker we are, the more we lean on Him-- and the more we lean on Him, the more He takes root in our lives and helps us in our struggles.
Praise God that the Israelites received His help in their trials. Amen
Allison Montgomery Yes5olias1@yahoo.com
Prayer Concern: For those with overwhelming occupational and financial stresses-that they will find answers and hope