“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night; the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.”
“On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony; and at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was continually; the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel encamped. At the command of the LORD the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the LORD they encamped; as long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the LORD they remained in camp; then according to the command of the LORD they set out. And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning; and when the cloud was taken up in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud was taken up they set out. Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out; but when it was taken up they set out. At the command of the LORD they encamped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses.”
What a wonderful feeling it must have been to be surrounded by God and be physically lead by Him. The children in the wilderness only had to look to the tabernacle to see what they were to do that day. If He moved, you move, and if He remained, you remained. However, over time (this went on for forty years!), human nature being what it is, they most likely questioned why God was taking so long to move. Maybe they grumbled at having to move when they were just there for a couple of days. The spiritual lesson for us is: do we wait on the Lord? Are we impatient with how long God is taking to answer our prayer? Do we feel we are being pushed too much? Our wilderness training comes down to trusting that God is working in our lives and not to be anxious about it. Psalms 27:14 reads: “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!”
May we take comfort in knowing that God is guiding us and may we be patient in our journey with Him. He is certainly patient with us!