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
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.
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