“We live by faith, not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7).”
Yesterday my wife wanted to show me the area behind our house because she said there is a wonderful view there. I said that it was a rainy day and that there not be much of a view, but we went anyway. As I drove into the neighborhood my wife exclaimed,”You can’t see a thing!”. She was right. Supposedly there were mountains out there, but all you could see was fog.
Today I took the same drive by myself. It is a beautiful, warm winter day with blue skies. I could see mountains in every direction. It was beautiful. The fog was a distant memory.
God used a cloud to lead Israel during the daytime when they escaped from Egypt. It is called in Exodus a “pillar of cloud” (Exodus 13:21). At night, they were led by a pillar of fire. Exodus says that because of these pillars, Israel could travel 24/7.
That must have been some cloud. A pillar can be a column, but it can also be a mass. I am wondering if it was the latter. If it was, then the Israelites would not have been able to see very far.
But they didn’t need to see; they just needed to listen. God was present in the cloud. He spoke to Moses out of it (Exodus 33:11). So God could tell them where to go even if they couldn’t see very much ahead of them.
After leaving Egypt Israel neglected to listen to God. At times they were in a fog themselves, and disobeyed Him. He was silent and He left them to their devices. But when things got bad they ran back to Him and He helped them. From their perspective it was as if God Himself woke up in His fog (Psalm 78:65).
It’s interesting how God is associated with the elements. He not only used clouds and fire to communicate with Israel. He rained down meat to Israel and provided bread with the dew. God used the wind in this process, too. (Psalm 78:23-27).
We His people are described as a wind, also — a very short one, a breeze (Psalm 78:39). Not only does God see our lives on this earth as a short puff of wind, but also as a vanishing mist (James 4:14). Since we have such a short time here, we ought to do a better job of listening to God and doing what He tells us to do.
Fog has unjustly received a bad reputation. It is seen as something that blocks our view and our progress. With God, though, putting fog in our path is His way of nudging us to listen to Him and go His way. If we had sunshine all the time we could very well choose a beautiful path, but one that would lead to our destruction.