One of my favorite parts in Exodus is how the Lord presents himself as a cloud by day and a fire by night so that the Israelites can follow him on their way out of Egypt. Even when meandering in the desert, the Israelites have Yahweh as their compass in the form of a cloud and fire. On the one hand, the idea of God presenting himself in these forms seems so simple – like God has to spell it out for those who aren’t the sharpest crayons in the box. “Here you go, people. I’ll make my presence so obvious, you’d have to be blind to miss me.” But on the other hand, there is something quite profound in this imagery, for what is more mysterious and beautiful than clouds and fire? And what is more awesome than the Lord himself?
Now the reality is, God is everywhere, so he doesn’t have to present himself in a specific shape or element. And yet, nonetheless, I’m big on signs and I try to scan the sky for the cloud – looking for the direction I think He wants me to take in my life.
Maybe he puts out mini clouds – one specific for each of us – that we are to attempt to recognize and then follow accordingly. Regardless, the only way I can see the cloud is if I look up.
As for the fire, I am reminded of a conversation I had awhile back with a much beloved faculty member at seminary. I was explaining to him that I had to take a quarter off to work on my book and possibly more time than that, depending on my writing. “Lise, the porch light is always on at Fuller.”
How nice to know that there are signs to show us the way and a light letting us know we always have a place at the table…