“The people remained at a distance while Moses approached the thick
dark cloud where God abode.”
(Exodus 20:21)

I have noticed that in whatever church I’ve been associated with, I usually end up being
friends with the pastor(s) and others in spiritually-related leadership positions.  The majority of the
parishioners, however, stay at arm’s length from those in spiritual authority.  This is not unlike the
Hebrews who, when confronted with thunder and lightening and the deafening sound of a trumpet blasting,
ran as far away from the activity as they could.  The masses put some distance between intimacy with God
back then, and they continue with the same behavior now.  God shrouded Himself in a dark cloud to mask His
glory which humans are unable to look upon, yet when He said “come on in, I’ve taken care of it this time,”
the people chose to flee, creating their own dark cloud of ignorance.    

The Hebrews were content to watch from afar.  Meanwhile, Moses did the opposite.  He drew near.  He
stepped into the presence of the Lord while the people never got to experience the anointing, the intimacy
which God longs to share with each one of us.  The Hebrews embraced their own dark cloud of cowardness
and unbelief.  In today’s world what Christians will do, however, is dive into meetings, discussion groups,
finance seminars, and committees of every nature.  They’ll do pleasant things that pleasant people do with
the occasional nod to God.  If God ever nodded back, which will never happen because God doesn’t care to
hang around in such folly, they’d run for the hills.  Too close, too much commitment, dangerously too near
the source.  Experience the great times as long as it’s not too familiar.  After all, who’d want any
more of God then they already have?

When God moves among a group of people, with whom does He begin?  Not with the run-aways, but with the
leadership because they’re the ones who dared step into the cloud of the unknown just like Moses did.  Even
if it meant blindly moving forward.  The vision almost always comes to the pastor first and the moving of the
Holy Spirit comes when the vision is conveyed to the masses.  There are no set rules, it doesn’t have to
happen that way, but it usually does.  Jesus said “You must be born again.”  In today’s language He could
have just as easily said, “You need to come out.”  You must come out of the dark cloud which you’ve
self-created and take steps of faith toward the cloud of illumination where God abides.  None of us will ever
know an intimacy with God sitting in front of the TV.