Numbers 10:34 And the cloud of the Lord was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. 35 And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. 36 And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.
This passage of scripture describes for us the way in which God chose to lead the children of Israel throughout their sojourn in the wilderness for forty years. From time to time the guiding cloud would rise majestically over the earthly sanctuary, and would move forward in the direction of God's choosing, thus signaling to the Hebrews that it was time to be on the move. At other times the cloud shrouding God's presence would come to rest above the sanctuary, and thus the Israelites would know that they were to encamp at the stipulated location until further marching orders were given. The guiding cloud departed not from them for their entire pilgrimage, and the entire experience contains very important lessons for Christians living in the 21st century.
Often when we pray to God for guidance and direction on a particular situation, we are at a loss to know what is God's will, and where He is leading, and because of this many of us make moves and decisions that do not have the approval of God. This need not be the case if we were to focus our attention on the "Guiding cloud" of God's providence, for this is the method He most often uses to lead us in the way we should go. It's worthy of note that in the movement of the cloud, God did not speak verbally to the Hebrews, but they were rather to look diligently for His movements, and thus were to follow suit.
The same principle and method applies in our own experiences when we pray and ask God for direction. He may not speak to us verbally, but He may choose to lead us in the right way by setting in motion a chain of circumstances which would point us in the right direction. But it would require quality time in watching and prayer to see clearly where He is leading. The problem is that many of us are too busy to watch for His leadership, and so we sometimes rush ahead to make critical mistakes, some of which bring life-long consequences that we would have preferred not to experience.
When Abraham was looking for a God-fearing wife for his son Isaac, he prayed, and Isaac prayed, and the servant who was sent to look for her also prayed, and the guiding cloud of God's directing providence was made manifest, for all of the positive signs lined up perfectly, and the important spiritual and physical characteristics they sought for were to be found in Rebekah as a complete whole. Let's read:
Genesis 24:12 And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. 15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. 16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is still in the business of leading His people through tough and important decisions, and if we pray to Him, and follow the scriptural guidelines He has laid down pertaining to any given situation, we may rest assured that the same "Guiding cloud" would appear again, pointing us in the way that we should go. All we have to do is to stop, look and listen, and The Lord will provide the guidance necessary, for He has made a solemn promise to hear us when we pray. We therefore end with a passage of scripture which confirms this sacred truth to us. Let's read:
Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
May The Lord guide us continually in all the affairs of life, so that we may avoid making hasty, and ill-advised decisions. "Good night" and God bless!