36Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. 37But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted. 38The cloud of the Lord hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys.Exodus 40:36-38
When the children of Israel left Egypt, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night guided them. The pillar revealed God’s presence to the people; it was visible day and night. After Moses finished constructing the Tabernacle, the pillar rested on top of it indicating that God’s presence dwelt among them within the Tabernacle.
As I listened to the final chapters of Exodus in the Bible in a Year, the pillar captured my attention. I wondered if I am as good following the Holy Spirit as the Israelites were following the cloud. Read the final verses of Exodus one more time.
When the cloud moved, the people moved. If the cloud stayed, the people stayed. Simple! And yet so difficult. What if I am tired of the place I am in and want to move on? How long will the cloud stay in this place? Sure, the cloud and fire were visible and the Holy Spirit is not, but am I listening?
I recall a time I was really itching to change a life situation. Dave and I would talk about it; I would pray about it but I sensed God standing with his hand extended like a crossing guard at the school crossing. “Stop! I want you there a bit longer.” I listened but it didn’t keep me from regularly returning to the query.
I am inspired by the practice of the Israelites to trust the cloud to guide them on the journey through the wilderness. Some day I want it to be said of me, “she listened to the Holy Spirit. When he said move, she moved. When he said stay, she stayed! This continued through all her journeys!”
How about you? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you or do you chart your own course? Is it working for you?