Posted by: Jo | August 29, 2014

Don’t Make A Move Until The Cloud Moves

“In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out-until the day it lifted.” (Exodus 40:36 – 37)

image The Exodus story is one of the most fascinating historical sagas ever written. When I was a Sunday school teacher I loved telling the stories found within this exciting recording of how God saved his chosen people. Just recently when I was rereading the account, I began to understand more deeply the messages contained there which were still so relevant to us in our present generation, and perhaps because I am so much older now and have moved from place to place and from country to country so many times I focused on the actual physical part of this long journey. What struck me to begin with, was the wonderful provision God had made to lead and protect his children as they journeyed to the Promised Land.

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” (Exodus 13:21)

But for me the most important protection God made for them was to have them totally dependent on him to choose the right path and the right timing for their journey, he did this through the cloud. If the cloud stopped they stopped and nobody moved until they saw the cloud move from the tabernacle.

“Whenever the cloud lifted from the Tent, the Israelites set out; whenever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.” (Numbers 9:17)

I was a bit horrified to see that sometimes they camped for only a day and other times several months and it even mentions camping for a year!

“Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.” (Numbers 9:22)

image I kept thinking of all that packing and unpacking, but what a wonderful lesson for us on our own Spiritual journey. Our cloud to guide us is the Holy Spirit. We need to look closely at how often we are totally focused on his directions when we come to that crossroad in our life. Are we bothering to seek his advice before we rush into a decision that is going to be life changing? Is one of the messages “Stay and wait, I have something better for you?” The Lord knows what lies ahead for all of us and consulting him for just that right path to take, ensures he goes before us, preparing the way.

It must have been so hard for the Israelites during those long waiting periods. We often have long waiting periods in our own lives and the temptation is to take it into our own hands and trust in our own wisdom to choose what we think is the right decision.

Jesus knew he had to impress upon his disciples not to move until they had the Holy Spirit’s blessing, they also were told to wait

“…Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (Acts 1:4)

The disciples were obedient to Jesus’ words imageand the result was the amazing out pouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Imagine the joy the Israelites would feel the mornings they saw the cloud move and knew the protective love of the Father was going before them. We can experience that same joy when we move, not at our own volition, but with the blessing of the Holy Spirit.


  1. How strange to think about the cloud that the Israelites waited for and followed compared to how we feel when we see clouds! I am so happy to be following the light of Jesus it’s so much more welcoming somehow!


  2. You know my story of how I was set to go and then you phoned with that message!! Right on time! How can I expect god to lead when I run way ahead of him or when I decide that I’m not moving because I don’t want to trust him!


  3. Dear Jo,
    In a weeks time that cloud is set to move for Mary and me to Glenelg in Adelaide where we are to spend a few days with our school friend who is not well. You might ask the Holy Spirit to settle with us there for a few days so that we can give each other joy and peace – and lots of laughter.


  4. Dear Jo,
    I love how you bring God’s Word relevant to our every day lives.
    I was being asked by a friend to do something, and before the entire question was even asked, out came the very adamant word “NO”. I trust it was the Holy Spirit going before me to protect me. It was such a comfort to know that the Holy Spirit was right there with me.
    Love, Maria


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