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A Cloud In the Forecast




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 has 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 thing” 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 unprepared. 


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. 


Imagine millions 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! 

“And 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.” (Numbers 9:17-18).

(Click here for "Resting in My Tent"   Click your browser "back" to return here.) 

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. 


The 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 night air. 

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.

Onward March!


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