Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. (Exodus 40:36-37)
By virtue of the fact that the Presence resided with the people of Israel, we know for a certainty that Moses’ intercession had been successful. The cloud of Glory was a visible demonstration that His presence would be in their midst and lead them to their destination. On the other hand, the cloud also screened the glory of God from being observed directly which, most likely, was for their benefit rather than detriment. In short, the cloud was a constant reminder of God’s Holy Presence among them, and thus, the responsibility on their part to live holy lives and to trust Him for all things.
In fact, the Scripture tells us that the cloud’s movement signaled when to move out and when to halt. They understood that they were not to make a move without God’s guidance — they move when He moved and they followed the path and direction that He determined to be best for them. They were to trust Him to lead them in a way that served His purpose and their best interests. Likewise, they were to trust Him when it was time to rest and wait. Couple this with the fact that six days out of seven, God gave them bread from heaven and it is easy to see that their entire life was dependent upon the will of God.
The rebellious heart tends to see this kind of dependance as unfair and the handiwork of an overbearing deity. The obedient heart understands that this is loving care being offered by a beneficent Father who only wants the best for His children. They didn’t know of all the pitfalls and dangers in the desert and certainly didn’t realize the challenge that lay before them in Canaan. Only the Creator knows such things. Likewise, we don’t know of all the potential dangers and challenges that tomorrow holds, and so then, we too must trust Him and follow Him down the path He has ordained for us; we must also trust Him when it seems He has called for us to wait.
If we can learn to move only when He moves, we can be certain that He will lead us to our objective and, furthermore, we can trust that He will clear the path ahead. We must remember, and especially in these perilous times, that Father knows best! And so in that vein of thought we join with Moses who, when the Ark of the Covenant set out to move, would say, “Rise O LORD and let your enemies be scattered.” Amen.
Blessings and Shalom,