Monday, August 30, 2010

The Fire, the Cloud, and the Aroma

This morning as I was searching the Scriptures I decided to consult a commentary. By the way, if you are not familiar with I highly recommend this resource for a wealth of good solid commentaries available online. Don’t automatically fly to a commentary though. If you haven’t read and re-read the text, prayed for insight, and done some preliminary work on your own you won’t have the discernment you need to assess whether the commentator is on track.

I knew the correlation between God appearing to Abram as a smoking oven and a flaming torch as they cut covenant in Genesis 15, and God appearing to his descendents as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that guided His children out of Egypt. However, my understanding was deepened by these wonderful insights by Alexander Maclaren. “These two symbols, the fire and the cloud point to the double aspect of God’s nature, that “He can never be completely known; He is never completely hid.” But also, “It speaks of that twofold aspect of the divine nature, by which to hearts that love He is gladsome light, and to unloving ones He is threatening darkness. As to the Israelites the pillar was light, and the Egyptians darkness and terror, so the same God is joy to some, and dread to others.” (Expositions of Holy Scripture [Baker], 1:109).

As I pondered this wonderful insight 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 came to mind. “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?” The very same principle Macclaren was describing will be played out in our lives too. Even if we are representing our Lord well, there will be those who love darkness and will dread the light that is in us. It is an awesome thing to carry the Presence. As Paul asks, “Who is adequate?” Read these words in the NKJV 2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses (poured forth) the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”

May it be so Lord.

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