Exodus 40:34, 38, "Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. ... The cloud of the Lord hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys."
Between one to two years after leaving Egyptian slavery, the Israelites were camped at the foot of Mount Sinai, where Moses had received the Ten Commandments, and the Tabernacle's work was complete. Moses inspected the final product, and God's glory descended upon it. What a sight to behold! But the Israelite's journey was far from over. God, Himself would lead His people toward the Promised Land with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Sometimes they would camp for one day, and other times they'd remain in one place for months at a time. No matter what, though, the glory of God dwelled among them.
You see, it was never God's intention to merely lead His people out of slavery; His purpose was to bring them into a relationship with Himself, to shine His glory upon them. Their real need - like ours - was to know Him personally.
Today's reading is a picture of the Christian life - but it's so much more than the physical manifestation of fire or cloud for us to follow. If we know Christ personally, His Spirit dwells inside us! He's leading, guiding, directing, and transforming our actions, thoughts, and desires according to His will. No matter where He takes us, it's for our good and His glory with the hope that the world around us may see a difference, and bow a knee to the Most High God!
Heavenly Father, Your presence is my greatest gift. May Your glory shine through my life that others may see and find the hope that's only found in You. Thank You for Your guidance and transformational power at work in my life today. Amen.