Read Exodus 40
Focus v. 36-38
When I was a child my father would occasionally let me accompany him to help with feeding and watering the cattle in winter. I remember how after a heavy snowfall it would be difficult for me to walk in the deep snow, but when I followed my father’s footsteps it became easier for me to keep up with him as he plowed a trail through the snow.
In today’s reading Moses describes how the Israelites followed God through the wilderness as they made their way to the promised land.
Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. (v. 36-38)
We often use the phrase “following the Lord” in current times to describe a life of obedience and submission to Christ. The people of Israel whom Moses led out of Egypt literally followed the Lord for forty years in the wilderness. The Lord appeared to them as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and when the tabernacle was completed the Lord dwelt there in the tabernacle until it was time for the people to move. When the cloud lifted from the tabernacle the people knew it was time to break camp and be on their way, when the cloud stopped they set up camp and the cloud would settle on or in the tabernacle, and so it went for 40 years!
This is a fitting picture of the Christian life of walking with Jesus… not that He appears to us as a pillar of cloud or fire, but that we follow the inner witness of the Holy Spirit Who leads us at times to be on the move from place to place, and who resides with us for periods of time in one place. For most of us, following the Lord is simply submitting ourselves to His will each day as we go about the business of living our lives.