Isaiah 4:5: Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. (ESV)
In the focus verse, the covering is for protection. It is the manifestation of the presence of God to prevent any harm, by any means, from coming to his people.
Jesus is that covering, he said that he has given us authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the powers of the enemy and nothing shall any means harm us (Luke 10:19).
The blood of the lamb prevented harm from coming to the children of Israel in the land of Egypt when the firstborns died at midnight (Exodus 12); that is strongly parallel to the reality that we have in Jesus when because of his shed blood (he is the Lamb of God [John 1:29]) we have life, we have passed from death to life, while death remains the portion of every else who does not believe.
A judgement of death was decreed on humanity in an irreversible manner, and there was no way out except for us to get someone pure and innocent to take our place (Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3). We need a spiritually pure vessel, of the same nature as we are, and that person was Jesus, who stood in the gap for us, his blood made intercession for us. Our fortune was changed forever.
Knowing we are covered, that we are protected means we can live without fear of man without the fear of what man will say. A psalmist says: I put my trust in the Lord what can man do to me (Psalm 118:6)?
Abraham said he has lifted up his hands to God in the area of provision, and he was well supplied (Genesis 14:22). When Jacob was moving to a new territory he was met by God who promised to keep him throughout his stay and bring him back. Decades later he affirmed that God had kept his word (Genesis 28, 32:10).
On his return journey, he said that he went into the new place with only his staff, but when he came back, he had increased greatly. He was rich in possession even though Laban the man he served there did everything to frustrate him.
He had the divine cover, which was the promise of God, and that assured him victory against the evil machinations of Laban. God gave him a supernatural edge. If not for God being with him, he would have come back empty handed, the same way he went there.
The bible says if our father and mother forsake us, God will take us up (Psalm 27:10). The brothers of Joseph set out to kill him to not achieve his destiny, but he was delivered from their hands.
And though the road was rough he came out on the other side, he got to his destined height, without the odour of slavery and imprisonment, to which he was subjected, on him.
When Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, it was meant to be their end. Nebuchadnezzar had asked that the temperature of the furnace to be increased many multiple fold, but by the time there was thrown into the fire and they came back by God’s supernatural intervention, the odour of the fire was not even on them (Daniel 3).
The focus verse speaks of different kinds of covering; there is the cloud, fire and canopy. That gives the picture of the kind of protection that the children of Israel had while they were on a journey from Egypt, the house of bondage, through the wilderness to the Promised Land, which parallels our journey through this earth when they are saved (from bondage to sin) with the blood of Jesus.
Remember that after the children of Israel shed the blood of lambs in the land of Egypt, it marked the end of their punishing and seemingly endless stay in that place. Their experience is a picture of the fact that we Christians have been taken from the devil’s kingdom of darkness into freedom.
When Ezra commenced on a journey from a foreign land back to Jerusalem with a group of people, he fasted and prayed for protection (Ezra 8:21-23).
He refused to take the practical step of asking the king to release a detachment of soldiers to protect them, because he had boasted about how great his God is to him.
Along the journey he called on God and God became a cover for him though not as visible as the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud which the children had as their cover as they moved across the wilderness.
The Israelites were protected from all the harsh weather conditions that affect others, they live in conditions that were supernaturally created by the presence of God.
The cloud and fire shows that different times require peculiar protection. In the desert where Israel went through, the night it is very cold and there is the pillar of fire at that time, and in the day it is the extreme of heat, that has caused heat stroke but the pillar of cloud protected the people.
Therefore God is manifesting as one sufficient for all situations, there is no problem he does not have an answer to, that he has a provision for every need. He is not frozen in time and by extension his word is fitting for all situation. If it guided the people of yesteryears, it is a guide for us now, in whatever situation we are in.
The word feeds us and we are strong (1Peter 2:2), it shines on our path as the light (Psalm 119:105), breaking darkness, it falls on us as rain causing us to bring forth the right result (Isaiah 55:10-11), it is the seed generating the flow of life in us (1Peter 1:21), it is a hammer to break down the rock of opposition (Jeremiah 23:29). We are covered all round.
Jesus is the Word and so he is not static. He went about helping people and healing those who are oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). Those who came to Jesus came with all manner of issues and they got the solution, they went back happy, he is everything.
- 7 Life Lessons We can Learn from Daniel’s Example (judeochristianchurch.com)
- ‘Renounce Your Faith Or Die’ – What Would You Say? (graciousinsight.com)
- Courage in the Fire (abodyofhope.wordpress.com)
- Checking Our Emotions (Anger) (pneumaword.org)
- What if, or Even if… (instrument-rated-theology.com)
- In The Midst Of The Fiery Furnace – It’s Still Hot! (chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com)
- Feb. 16. Daniel’s Friends Thrown into Furnace (fellowshiproom.org)