This discovery is making me view cloudy days through a different lens
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. (Exodus 13:21–22)
Cloudy days are reason enough for me to stay in my pajamas and curl up on the couch for a Netflix marathon. I do not need any other excuse. I can use clouds as a reason to put off errands that I need to do, and even cancel appointments that have been on the books for months. I can let lingering clouds affect my emotions. The longer they hang around, the darker my mood can grow.
As I read Exodus, I noticed that clouds did not bring about depression, excuses, or binge TV watching. In fact, when you see the word cloud, you can bet that God’s presence is in or near that cloud. This discovery is making me view cloudy days through a different lens.
The Israelites may not have known where they were as they traveled in the wilderness, but they did have a guide. The Lord provided them with shade from a pillar of cloud by day and light from a pillar of fire by night. Whenever and wherever the cloud moved, they were to follow. Knowing where they were going was less important than knowing who they were following.1 The cloud was a physical sign of the Lord’s presence. He did not leave them, day or night. His presence was to show them the way.2 If they kept their eyes fixed on the cloud, they would not be lost.3
What triggers you to experience a dark day? Why is knowing where you are going less important than knowing whom you are following? Write out Hebrews 12:2 and put it in a place to remind you of the need to keep your eyes on Jesus:
… let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.… (Hebrews 12:1–2, NLT)
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, set my spiritual compass toward you. Help me see your presence even on the cloudiest of days. Amen.
1 Tom Hale and Steve Thorson, Applied Old Testament Commentary (Colorado Spring, CO: David C. Cook, 2007), 229.
2 Daniel Gurtner, Exodus: A Commentary of the Greek Text of Codex Vaticunus (The Netherlands: Brill Publishing, 2013), 330.
3 Victor P. Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011), 211.