I was first introduced to the cloud of God’s presence when I learned how God led the Israelites through the desert by day with a formidable pillar of it. However, I hadn’t encountered such a striking cloud similitude again before I read Second Chronicles 5:13-14, which more clearly states the cloud’s role as a vessel, if you will, of God’s omnipresent glory. After reading the passage during my quiet time, I began outlining another “Reflections on Creation” post in my head. How does God reveal qualities of Himself through the clouds of the sky? I wondered, keeping in mind Paul’s observation in Romans 1:20:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse[.]”
Below are my thoughts on the clouds mentioned in Second Chronicles 5:13-14 and Exodus 13:21-22. Enjoy!
(Note: All Biblical quotes are taken from the New King James Version of Scripture.)
Clouds are formless.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” ~Romans 8:9
The Christian God is not creation, nor does He preside over only a particular piece of it (i.e., Zeus, god of lighting; Venus, goddess of love). Instead, He is Spirit. He can manifest Himself as He wishes and is not restricted in any way by His creation. In the same way, clouds are not restricted to a particular shape. Although they cannot change shape without the direction of God’s Spirit, I believe they nonetheless point to the Creator in this manner.
Clouds fill whatever space they occupy.
“…[W]hen they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: ‘For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,’ that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” ~Second Chronicles 5:13b-14
Here I do not think of the puffy white cumulus clouds floating in the sky; I think of a vapor or gas cloud. I cannot easily see these clouds, yet there they are, completely surrounding and following me, no matter how fast I run or walk across this land. It reminds me of God’s omnipresence, which David explains so beautifully in one of his psalms:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” ~Psalm 139:7-10
Isn’t this thought both comforting as well as convicting? What if we did live our lives in constant awareness of our Father’s eternal, all-pervading presence, as exemplified by the clouds He created? I don’t know about you, but I think my life would be pretty different.
Clouds are majestic.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” ~Psalm 19:1
Whether they are white and pretty or silver and menacing, there’s something so satisfying and aweing about gazing up into the clouds. When we lay on the grass to observe a white cloud’s passage, we cannot believe how blessed we are to see such beauty in creation. When we sprint inside our houses to escape a storm, we are reminded of just how much we cannot control in our lives. Clouds, like all other beings of creation, points to the Creator, who is fearsome yet gentle, beautiful yet formidable. How great is our God!
I am so thankful for the marvelous, undeserved beauty of creation–I count it my honor to share my thoughts on it with you. The next time you look up at the sky, remember–God is there, here, and everywhere. Contemplate upon it, pray, and walk home changed.
December 2, 2017