Monday, February 6, 2012

Follow that cloud!

The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. Exodus 13:21

Clouds are really cool things, don't you think? When I was a kid I used to lay on the beach and gaze up at  the clouds and find all sorts of shapes within them: like horses and weird faces and pirate ships!  Clouds bring us much needed rain and they provide shade from the heat of the sun. What a wonderful creation!  Clouds were also useful at sea. Can you imagine how hot it was in the Caribbean on the open sea? Especially if the wind wasn't blowing very hard. A large cloud provided precious minutes, even hours, of relief from the sharp rays of the sun. Clouds also warned sailors of upcoming weather. Just by examining the shape and size of clouds, the captain would know whether to expect rain the next day, or worse, a storm.

We all know the story of how God led the Israelites across the Sinai desert by a cloud. The cloud covered them by day, keeping them cool and shielded from the sun, and a pillar of fire provided light and warmth at night. That amazes me! Even after they rebelled against God and refused to go into the promised land that He gave them, God still provided the cloud and the pillar for the next 40 years.  Wherever the cloud stooped, the Israelites made camp. When the cloud lifted, they journeyed.

Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey Numbers 9:22

You know what? God still provides a cloud for us today. Not a cloud we can see with our eyes, but one that is just as real. The cloud is God's grace, his unmerited, undeserved favor, kindness and mercy. It guides us through life, protects us, keeps us cool and comfortable. It gives us wisdom and knowledge and strength to meet each day's challenges. It tells us when to move, when to stay, and where to go! 

Great! I'm in!  How do I find this cloud and stay under it?  You find the cloud by believing in Jesus and accepting His sacrifice for you on the cross. 
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; Romans 3:23-24 

But the key is to stay under the cloud. After getting saved, many of us start sailing across the seas, trying to run our lives and find the promised land on our own. All we end up doing is only wandering farther away from God and causing ourselves lots of problems! 

So, how do you stay under the cloud? By obedience to God's will just like the Israelites did. When the cloud moved.. they moved. When the cloud stopped they stopped. How do you know when the cloud has stopped? Because it gets real hot!! You get uncomfortable. You lose your peace. Things start falling apart. The Israelites didn't dare move outside the cloud because they would have been fried in the desert. At night, they would have frozen without the pillar.  You bet they stayed with the cloud!  And we need to do the same thing.

If things are getting a little hot where you are, or if you've lost your peace, your direction, if the storms are rising and you feel abandoned, maybe you're the one who left the cloud of God's grace. My recommendation? Adjust sails and set a course back to the last place you felt God's grace and peace upon you. Chances are that's where God is waiting for you.

One last note on clouds. At the very end of the age, Jesus will return in the clouds! Another good reason to keep looking up!
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. Mark 13:26


  1. Mon Feb 6th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    I love clouds !!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great insight you have shared with us today. God providing a cloud for us today ! How neat is that !!! His provision is SO awesome and amazing !!!
    And yes, we definitely need to keep 'looking up' ... as our "redemption draweth nigh" !
    Thanks for sharing this, MaryLu.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. So cool! I never thought of following Jesus in present day as following the cloud in that story. It's a really great way to look at it.
    Also, I love the pictures you picked to go with your post, especially the last one with the angels :)

  3. I've always loved clouds-especially during a thunderstorm! Its like watching a choreographed symphony: Lights, camera, action! LOL
    When I was a kid, I was told that clouds were the dust picked up when God was walking in heaven. It comforted me when storms came by. Now, I get so excited that I like to take pictures and watch the action. Like Sarah, I honestly never thought about following the clouds like the Iraelites. Gives me a new perspective.

  4. I absolutely LOVE some of the things God puts in your mind Marylu!!! Clouds definitely are a beautiful part of the earth, or I guess in this case sky! Who would have ever thought they would be an important symbol of faith to?!?!? Thanks for sharing!

  5. Brenda, I love clouds too!! They are so huge and thick in Florida where I grew up. Out here in California.. they are wispy and thin.

    Thanks Sarah.. glad the post blessed you. Great pictures, eh?

    Eszter, I've never heard that before. Dust kicked up by God walking. I love it!!

    Emily, you're welcome.. glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, I am amazed at some of the ideas God gives me while I'm reading the Bible.. It makes the Word fresh each time I read it!

  6. Mrs. Tyndall, I'm so blessed by each and every blog post of yours that lands in my inbox...this one made me grin extra wide because I just finished reading Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer and there's a great God-guiding-through-clouds theme subtly woven throughout the story! :)

  7. Awesome, Rachelle!! I love those coincidences God sends our way! I appreciate you dropping by to tell me. God Bless!

  8. Rachelle, that is near the top of my to-read list! I'll have to keep MaryLu's post in mind when I read it :)

  9. I too have always loved clouds. I can still recall when my grandmother died when I was eight and it was explained to me she was in heaven, which I assumed was in the clouds. I'd always imagined she'd be behind a cloud in the sky looking over me. Later on in life, I know the Lord is the one looking over the clouds at all of us. :-)

  10. Nice sentiment, JMB. I imagine God may give our loved ones glimpses of us from time to time... :-)