The Cloud

The Cloud

21 February 2021

Jim Stephens

Reading: Numbers 8-9; Acts 28

22 Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23 So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses. (Numbers 9:22-23 NLT)

From the time the Tabernacle was dedicated, the cloud of God’s presence hovered above it. Shade and shelter in the day and light and warmth in the night. A constant reminder that God was with his people, leading, providing, protecting. When the cloud rested the people stayed, when the cloud moved, the people followed.

God had given Israel detailed instructions on procedures for worship, practices for living, and processes for travel. When questions arose, Moses went to God and got answers that could add insight in dealing with problems and clarity specific to their situations. But God himself directed their journey. So they lived by the instructions God gave them through Moses, but they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command.

How do we maintain the balance between living by what we have learned and acting in direct response to the Holy Spirit’s direction? How do we balance strategic planning with living and responding in the moment? How do we stay sensitive and responsive to God’s direction and promptings when our tendency is toward making policies and procedures and formalizing what once came by seeking God and receiving revelation? How do we keep ourselves willing to pick up and pack up and move forward in faith when our tendency is toward habit, routine, and “comfort-zone” living?

It’s a matter of the heart! A heart for God produces sensitivity, responsiveness, and obedience. A heart for God keeps us moving with the cloud.


Father, Please help me to understand the place of policies and procedures in relation to following the cloud of your presence. Keep me sensitive to the promptings of your Spirit. Don’t let my desire for comfort and control cause me to miss the next faith-step in my journey. Please give me revelation, wisdom, and understanding, and a heart that is always willing to respond and obey. Amen.

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