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 always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night” (Numbers 9:15-16 ESV).
The cloud made God’s presence visible over the tabernacle, day and night. The people of Israel did not migrate unless the cloud lifted and guided them to to their next site. I always imagined what that cloud looked like to them. Would it be enough for me to see the glory of God in that way and remain committed to him, or would my sense of wonderment grow dull because of familiarity?
Well, if you read on to Numbers 11, you would learn that it did not take long for the people to start complaining about their hardships in the desert. Even though they had God guiding, providing, and protecting them with a cloud cover, they murmured and grumbled. They forgot what it was like to be thankful because their minds were fixated on all they had while being enslaved in Egypt. Isn’t that interesting that they would rather be slaves instead of free men and women?
The Lord was leading them to a promised land, but the length of their travel delayed their gratification. Rather than dwelling on the past, they should have meditated on the destination ahead of them. Be faithful, trust God, and just keep going! There will be plenty of land full of milk and honey!