“ Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out.  But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.” – Exodus 40:34-38, ESV
In rereading through this account of the “tent of meeting,” I was struck by how awesome this whole ordeal must have been, not only to the nation of Israel but the surrounding nations as well. The thought that the true and living God, God over all other gods, would condescend to rule among His people must have been truly astounding. During that time, it was believed that deity was far too transcendent to become involved in the affairs of men. Deity was too high, distant, exalted as it were to stoop down to the level of humanity. But God, the Ruler over all the created order, not only was concerned about the affairs of men but left His abode in the heavens to literally dwell among His chosen people. This must have mystified everyone!
It wasn’t as though He came secretly either. God manifested His presence among His people in a cloud by day (in a desert region, this would not have been visible for miles around) and fire by night (again, totally noticeable against the darkness of night).
As I meditated on this astounding reality, my mind was drawn to the gospel of John:
“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:1-5, 14, ESV
Again, the Creator of the universe, condescends to dwell among men. As a light shining in the darkness, so was his presence among His people. What a God … what a Savior!