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Summary: We trust that our data is safely stored in a "Cloud". Where is it? What is it? Yet we trust it. Why not trust the Divine Cloud.... includes a review of how the early Israelites learned to trust the "cloud" in the wilderness.

In Jesus Holy Name August 18, 2013

Text: Hebrews 12:12a Redeemer

“The Digital Cloud? The Divine Cloud?”

In Which do you Place Your Trust?

Some say that when Steve Jobs created Apple, he changed our world. First the MAC, then iPads, iPhones, and now we all can have “apps” by the thousands. We have Twitter, Facebook….. and Linkedin…. Which I still don’t understand.

When I visited the doctor this past week he wrote all my information on a computer…. Now my medical records are stored electronically. Stored somewhere in a thing called the “Cloud.” How many of you purchase books on your Kindle, or iPad from Amazon? Then at the top there is a little note that states my books are stored in the “Cloud”. What is that? Where is that? And yet I trust that my books are safe.

Oh, yes there is that recent National Security Agency problem where the government has built a giant storage facility in Utah. The Utah Data Center, also known as the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber security Initiative Data Center, is a data storage facility for the United States Intelligence Community that is designed to store extremely large amounts of data. Is that the “Cloud”?

I know that the data center is able to process "all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Internet searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—----parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital 'pocket litter', bank records, medical and SS records. Electronic data. Well it has to be stored somewhere. I guess I can trust the “Cloud”.

Everyday people go to their personal “temple” attached to their keyboard. We write our thoughts, prayers, share our concerns & business, knowing that there is a “digital Cloud”, somewhere holding our information. So we are trusting the “Cloud”!

Recently Apple issued a warning. Customers who were using a GPS national park hiking trails “app” on their iPhones were warned about some serious “glitches.” In several national parks the identified trailhead, the mileages, and the directional guides . . . all were completely off. Several hikers got seriously lost because they trusted downloaded trail information that was fatally flawed. Those hikers had faith in the electronic guidance their hiking “app” had given them. But that faith was rewarded with a “wandering in the wilderness” experience.

If truth be told, we don’t take much “on faith” anymore — or do we? Let’s be more precise: We don’t take much “on faith” anymore at least from human sources. Anything a politician or a government bureaucrat or a corporate CEO or now even an athlete says and swears is immediately suspicious and suspect. Network media, government warnings and recommendations of professionals like doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, tarot card readers — these days we take them all with a hefty helping of salt.

But as the emergency Apple “app” warning revealed, we do seem to place faith in our electronics. We have more faith in Artificial Intelligence than human intelligence. We input all of our most private information — personal, financial, medical, emotional, and we trust that it is safely stored away. We routinely hit “send”…. secure in our faith that our message will go swiftly to its appointed destination without interception or invasion. We trust our family trips to a GPS screen and a very kind computer-generated voice will correctly tell us where to go.

What would you do today if your GPS suddenly instructed you to drive your car around the beltway seven times, honking your horn all along the way? What if your GPS insisted this was the only way to reach your desired destination? Would you “have faith” and follow directions?

Doubt it! Yet that is what Joshua did.

When the Israelites fled from Pharaoh’s pursuing army 40 years before and followed Moses’ lead right into the Red Sea, they saw the “cloud”. Despite the fact that the faithlessness of that same group will cost them forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews’ author chooses to highlight their one united exhibition of faith — their plunge into the waters of the sea because the “divine cloud” hid them from the Egyptian.

The Cloud. The Cloud… The Divine Cloud came to rest in the temple in Jerusalem.

But in today’s bible ready in Hebrews it is that degree of faith that the author holds up as part of our great “cloud of witnesses.” At Jericho Joshua got some pretty bizarre sounding instructions from God. He and the people were to stomp around the city seven times while blowing horns and then culminate the march by gathering their voices together in one big shout-out. This was the divine answer to toppling the walled fortress city of Jericho.

Joshua and the Israelites had lived a hard scrabble life. Forty years wandering in the wilderness. Generations of slavery in Egypt. They knew it took a fight to defeat might. Yet they responded and obeyed those weird words out of faith in the God who had delivered them from slavery and promised them a future.

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