What if God published a newspaper with a name like Heaven’s
Herald and each issue would have a tailor-made forecast
for every storm coming into your life for the next week? You
would always know when to wear a raincoat or carry an
umbrella. You’d know when you needed a sweater to keep you
warm or just go about the day carefree. You would be
aware of what to expect each day.
It might read
something like this:
Monday: After a balmy, sunny Lord’s Day yesterday, the
skies are slightly covered with a blue-gray overcast,
obscuring the horizon that you saw so clearly yesterday. The
forecast is gloomy for today, since the clouds will not be
lifting, so be prepared to “encourage yourself in the Lord.”
Tuesday: The cloud cover of yesterday has thickened
and a heavy fog has set in, making it hard to see clearly. Be
careful traveling today. Light rain will begin by afternoon.
Your spirits may be somewhat dampened by evening. Focus on
the Sonshine to keep your spirits up.
Wednesday: The heavy clouds of yesterday will part a
little allowing some Sonshine to warm the day. Evening will
bring more improvement, as Bible Study will bring some hope
for a better day ahead.
Thursday: Lingering clouds will slowly give way to
Sonshine, a carryover from Wednesday evening’s lifting
clouds. Expect some lovely weather today, basking in the
encouragement you received last evening at Bible study.
Friday: A sudden drop in the temperature will occur as
the friend you had so much confidence in and that you
thought would always be there for you has let you down. The high
today will be around zero degrees. It will be a hard day to
keep warm. You will need to stay near the warmth of God’s
Love to avoid bitter frostbite with residual permanent damage.
Saturday: Today is still chilly from yesterday’s
bitter cold, and a storm is brewing. The
relationship that you valued enough to invest your emotions in
faltered. You thought it was solid enough to make a large
investment, but its stock will crash and its value will end up
in the cellar dropping 100% today. You will suffer deep
disappointment and discouragement by the end of the day.
Keep your eyes on your heavenly investments where neither
moths nor rust can reach them.
Sunday: You will be very happy to see the Lord’s Day
again. All the chills of the previous days will begin to thaw
as you sit in the Lord’s House and be warmed by the Word. You
will take courage and realize that the one truly unchangeable
forecast is from the Lord Himself. You will be
reminded to put your trust in Him and not rely on anything or
anyone else to keep you warm and safe from the storms. You
will be instructed to lift praises to the One who is worthy of
all your trust and confidence. The storms are nothing new to
Him; He has been where you are and knows how you feel.
He is a calming influence.
We will be tossed
about with storms as long as we live in this world. It would
be great to have advance forecasts of storms that are in our
future. We think that then we would always be prepared to
face them. But would we? Essentially, we do have an accurate
forecast in the Word. Peter said we should not think it
strange when these days catch us, as though “some strange
had come our
way. (1 Peter 4:12). In fact, Peter mentioned the fiery
trial “which is to try you…”-- not which might possibly try
you, but “is” to try you. It is inevitable that these trials
will come and we need to be prepared to weather them.
Satan’s tactics are to try to catch us unaware and
unprepared. Temptation is not a stranger. We are all
familiar with it, and the Lord allows us to be tested from
time to time. It is “common to man…but God…will make a
way to escape that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians
10:13). There will be times we can escape and other
times we will have to bear it; but, always, there is a safe
haven of shelter provided by the Lord. The only way out
of a storm is to go through it, weather it and be strengthened
by it. There will always be something to be gained from
every storm, forewarned or not.
An old saying
goes, “A wise man carries an umbrella at all times.” In
other words, he stays prepared for the storm. We are not
to live with a storm-expectation attitude; rather, with the
confidence and courage that we are not facing it alone nor
No matter how
severe the storm we may be facing, it pales when compared to
the trek through the wilderness by the Israelites. They
left behind everything they were familiar with, taking only
what they could carry and followed Moses. The familiar
is hard to turn from even if it is difficult or unpleasant.
They didn’t know what they would be facing; they were just
seeking liberty from Egyptian enslavement. They had no
water; God opened up a spring from a rock. They had no
food; God let the heavens rain manna. They complained
about the sameness of the manna; God changed the radar of
quail so that they dropped into the camp. They were not
protected from want and need, but they were provided with
solutions to their problems in a timely manner.
of people traveling to an unknown destination to fulfill a
promise made to one of their ancestors, Abraham. They
didn’t know the way and had to depend on Moses to lead them as
God led him. But, you know what? Every single day
there was a cloud in their forecast!
on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered
the tabernacle…and at even there was the appearance of fire,
until the morning.” (Numbers 9:15). They didn’t need to have
a strategy meeting to try to figure out which way to begin the
day’s travels. “So it was alway; the cloud covered it by day,
and the appearance of fire by night.” (Numbers 9:16) Each
day, Heaven’s Herald gave them a forecast of what to
expect. “And when the cloud was taken up from
the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel
journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the
children of Israel pitched their tents…as long as the cloud
abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.”
(Click here for "Resting in My Tent"
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The cloud and
fire were multi-purposed. Imagine walking all day
through the burning desert under a blazing sun, then making
camp at night under cold stars after sunset when the
temperature dropped drastically. This would have been
their plight had God not been looking out for them and meeting
their daily needs.
The cloud: The cloud was a
representation of the presence of God. Once the tabernacle
was constructed and set up, the cloud appeared over the Holy
of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant resided, essentially
God’s throne among them. Following the cloud meant they were
following where God was leading them. But it was more.
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant,
how that all our fathers were under the cloud…” (1 Corinthians
10:1). The cloud did more than go before them, it
overshadowed them. “He spread a cloud for a covering; and
fire to give light
in the night.”
(Psalm 105:30). By day as it was leading them, the cloud
provided a covering from the heat of the sun bearing down upon
them. Just as the Holy Ghost does for us today, the cloud was
guiding them and providing comfort.
fire: There were no street lights in the desert. “The cloud
was there each day, and during the night, a fire could be seen
in it.” (Numbers 9:16). During the day, the cloud was
opaque protecting them from the ultra violet rays and heat of
the sun; and then at night fire could be seen in it, which
provided light and warmth from the darkness and frigid desert
When the cloud
began to have movement, the tabernacle was broken down, packed
and made ready for the journey. Designated priests
carried the Ark and went before the people following the
cloud. It showed the way by day and by night.
When Joshua was
preparing the people to cross over Jordan River, he instructed
his officers to go through the camps and declare, “When you
see some of the priests carrying the sacred chest, you’ll know
it is time to cross to the other side. You’ve never been
there before, and you won’t know the way, unless you follow
the chest…” (Joshua 3:3-4). He told the priests to take
the chest and cross over ahead of the people. (v.6). God was
leading! The chest/Ark was God going before them and showing
them the way. It is always safe to follow the Lord wherever
He may lead. It doesn’t matter if we’ve never been that way
before, He has and He knows the best route.
God has not run
out of “clouds” or “fire” to guide us. His presence (as the
Ark) goes before us to show the way. Many times in the Bible,
clouds were representative of God's presence and angels"...The clouds are the dust of his feet" (Nahum 1:4).
"...who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon
the wings of the winds: Who maketh his angels spirits;
his ministers a flaming fire" (Psalm 104: 3, 4). A Heavenly host made up the cloud, obscured, covering the
travelers who were following the Ark. The fire (light) of the
Holy Ghost is always present with us to provide comfort,
inspiration and leadership to make the way plain and
accessible for us to follow the Ark (God's Presence) wherever it leads.
When God brings the Ark (His Presence in the Holy Ghost) into
view, it is time to walk under the "cloud/fire" and move on to
the promises just as Israel followed the course steered by God
to the Promise Land.
Companion article to this one: Click Here