Follow that Cloud
Lord, help me to wait for You, to be attentive to Your leading, and to walk in step with You.
What determined the people's movement? What about you?
Although the Israelites are still in the camp at Sinai (and will only break camp in ch. 10), this passage looks ahead to how they will travel through the wilderness. The answer: with God. In a typically strange and mysterious way.
Something like a cloud (by day)--though more like fire by night (15,16)--would settle over the tabernacle, which was the dwelling place of God. Wherever it went, they went. When it stayed, they stayed. And its movements were rather unpredictable: a day, a month, a year (19-22). No explanation is offered, presumably because God never gave one.
In our own walk with God, do we move on at God's leading? Then again, sometimes God's leading means staying put. Either way, God takes the initiative, though we have to be attentive to the task of following. Just as with a cloud, one's view of what that leading is can be hard to discern.
There is both an assurance in God's presence and leading and a challenge in needing to follow that lead. It's the same today as it always has been.
If we are to follow God's leading, we must quiet ourselves to hear him and resolve to obey however he directs.
Father, as Jesus did in his ministry, I want to do only what I see You doing and to say only what I hear You saying.