“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud” (Exodus 13:21)
Ever notice how obsessed we are with the weather? Within a matter of minutes after crawling out of bed, we either reach for our cell phone to view our weather app. Or we grab the remote and hit the Weather Channel. Some of us simply want to know the forecast for the day ahead of us. Some of us want more information, like the hourly forecast, the humidity, or the barometric pressure. And of course, we want to know if we will need a sweater when we walk out the door. We smile when we see the sun will shine. And we frown when we see the day will be cloudy. But I want us to take a new attitude toward the weather – especially the days that are cloudy.
Almost every time a cloud appears in the Bible, it tells us that God is visiting the neighborhood. Isn’t that a great thought? The Creator hung his rainbow in the clouds (Genesis 9:13). Then on Mount Sinai he wrapped a cloud around the mountain and used it as his megaphone to call to Moses (Exodus 24:15-16). And let us not forget the Lord’s cloud of glory housed itself within both the tabernacle (Exodus 40:35), as well as later in the temple (I Kings 8:10-11). God even makes clouds into a onesie for the newborn sea (Job 38:9). We also know that as Israel stumbled through the wilderness, God’s cloudy pillar guided them by day, and his fiery pillar by night. We tend to associate clouds with shade and rain, or a mass of floating atmosphere that holds the potential to ruin our day’s plans. But for Israel, clouds were God’s mouthpiece, his sign, and even his clothing.
So, in the New Testament, it is no surprise that we see an even greater utilization of clouds. During Jesus’ transfiguration, when a cloud appeared, there was no doubt the Father was standing in the doorway introducing his Son. We are told at that event that, “a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’” (Matthew 17:5). And let us remember that Christ ascended into a cloud (Acts 1:9) and will return “with the clouds.” (Revelation 1:7). But one of the most significant sightings of a cloud will bring the greatest joy to our hearts, for we are told when the Rapture takes place that “we who are still alive, and on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (I Thessalonians 4:17)
So, my advice, my friends is that we watch the weather, keep our eyes on the sky, and when we see a cloud or two – smile and thank God for them.