Remember that game we used to play as children? (Maybe some of us still play it… but no one’s owning up to it.) We would look up at the sky and spy a cloud, usually in the shape of an animal, and ask our family and friends to guess the shape we saw.
Recently, I was reading in Exodus which talks about a completely different purpose for a cloud. After Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, the Lord gave him instructions for setting up a tabernacle or tent. There, the glory of the Lord would abide as He led His people through the wilderness.
The concept was pretty simple. When the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, the Israelites remained where they were. When the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, they continued on their journey (Exodus 40:36-37).
For a moment, I found myself wishing for a cloud. When facing a big decision, I could simply look to the cloud. If it stayed put, I would wait. If I moved, I would follow. How simple would that be? (Considering how much the Israelites struggled to obey God, maybe following a cloud wouldn’t have been easy for me either.)
Obviously, that’s not how God leads His children today. We have something even more tangible than a cloud – the inspired Word of God at our fingertips. It’s filled with truth and guidance relevant for our lives today.
In fact, I did a quick search on biblegateway.com (using the New King James Version) and discovered there are:
- 277 references to the word “light”
- 197 references to the word “ways.”
- 41 references to the word “paths.”
- 27 references for the word “guide”
- 45 references for the word “steps”
- And that’s just a start!
Some of you may be facing big decisions about school, college, summer work, and relationships. No matter how old we are, there are always decisions and choices to make. (I wish I could say they become easier the older we become, but that’s not always the case!)
Regardless, God’s Word is filled with promises and encouragement. A word of caution, though: These aren’t just “name it and claim it” promises. They’re conditional on our relationship with our Lord. Are we acknowledging Him in our decisions? Are we “walking humbly” with our God (Micah 6:8)? If so, verses like the ones below can help remind us where our confidence belongs: in Christ. (Emphasis added is mine.)
- “When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7:8b, NKJV).
- “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6, NKJV).
- “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Psalm 32:8, NKJV).
- “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23, NKJV).
And hey! Guess what? We can still be looking to the clouds – for the return of our Lord.
- “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26, NKJV)
- “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7a, NKJV).
Maybe I’m not so foolish to wish for a cloud after all. This world can leave me feeling a little homesick for heaven. One day, those clouds will part, this world will fade, and I’ll experience unhindered clarity and perfect peace in the presence of my Lord. I hope you will be able to say the same.
Until that day comes, no matter what tough choice you’re facing, take a cue from that game we used to play and focus your attention upward – to the clouds.