Recently one of my co-workers told me that her four-year old, TJ, asked her: “Mommy, is God a cloud?”, and she related more of the questions TJ had in the course of their conversation: “Why can’t we see God?…Where is He?…Who made God?…” The concept of our all-present, eternal, invisible God was quite mind-boggling to little TJ….in fact, sometimes it is for us, too! An answer that the Bible gives us is that “No, God isn’t a cloud, but sometimes He used a cloud to represent His presence to His people.” Here are a few examples from the book of Exodus, when God’s people were heading towards the Promised Land:
GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD FOR GUIDANCE: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way….He did not take away the pillar of cloud…from before the people.”(13:21-22)
GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD FOR PROTECTION: As they were “stranded” between the pursuing Egyptian army and the Red Sea, God moved that pillar of cloud to protect His people: “And the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud of darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near to the other all that night.” (14:19-20)
GOD’S GLORY REVEALED IN A CLOUD: “Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days…” (24:16-18)
GOD’S PRESENCE IN A CLOUD MOTIVATED WORSHIP: “…when Moses entered the tabernacle…the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped…” (33:9-11)
No, TJ, God is not a cloud, and today we don’t have a special cloud to guarantee God’s presence with us; but like thousands of years ago, God’s presence still guides us and protects us; His glory is revealed through His presence. We don’t see a special cloud with our eyes like His people did back then, but by faith we believe His words: “…He Himself has said ‘I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.’ “ (Hebrews 13:5) …and THAT motivates our worship!