Israel had one thing that all the other nations living around them would never have. It was almost like a trademark. They had the presence of God’s glory in a visible cloud.
All this began early in Israel’s history as it left Egypt. God led the way in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13: 21-22; 16:10; 19:9, 16). The Canaanite nations with their idol temples had nothing like this. Perhaps the priests of Baal and the Astarte attempted to replicate it in some way, but such would have been a vain attempt.
Solomon witnessed the cloud of God’s presence when the Temple was dedicated (1 Kings 8:10-12). God promised he would be with Israel and its king in such a way as long as they obeyed his commandments.
We no longer enjoy a visible apparition of God’s presence. We don’t really need it. We have his son’s promise he would always be with us (Matthew 28:20). Faith is believing in God’s word without the need to see anything miraculous (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Many people still want to justify their belief in God by some kind of miracle. They want to see God to believe in him. Unfortunately, they don’t understand the nature of faith. They have been blinded by the teachings of people they’ve never met: empiricists like David Hume who lived in the 1700s taught knowledge only comes from the five human senses. The empiricists said that knowledge only comes from a person’s five senses and nowhere else.
We know that faith comes from reading and understanding God’s word (Romans 10:17). This is the only way to true faith because faith comes from the evidence of God’s word (Hebrews 11:1). The apostle Paul told the Ephesian members of the church that when they read what Paul wrote, then they would know what he knew (Ephesians 3:4).
Many, however, continue to discount what the Bible says about faith because they want something they can’t have. They want the cloud Israel possessed. They need to see God without the cloud.