Sometimes, I feel like God does something just for me. I felt so blessed for the beauty He allowed me to see that day. It also reminded me of a lesson that He taught me about the clouds a couple months ago.
As you may know from my previous posts, I enjoy the teachings of Beth Moore. The ladies at our church do two of her studies each year, and I personally read some of her books. A few months ago, I found out about her "Personal Reflection Series." These are 90 day devotionals. I just started the one on David last week, but before that, I did the one on John. On day 64 of that devotional, I learned something that I hope I will remember anytime there's a cloud in the sky. Here is a exerpt from that day's lesson:
Yes, when Christ returns to this groaning soil in His glorious splendor, every eye will see Him. But until then, He sometimes comes with clouds. God's glory is so inconceivably brilliant to the human eye that He often shrouds His presence in a cloud (see Exod. 16:10; 24:15-16; Lev. 16:2; 1 Kings 8:10; Luke 9:34). But one day, as Revelation 1:7 says, the clouds will roll back like a scroll and Christ will stand before us revealed. He has much to disclose to us in the meantime, and we'll be greatly helped when we accept that clouds are not signs of His absence. Indeed, within them we most often find His presence In the July 29 entry of his classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote figuratively of clouds:
In the Bible, clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. "The clouds are the dust of His feet" (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. ... Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child—a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. . . . Until we can come face-to-face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God's character, we do not yet know Him.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest(New York: Dodd Mead & Company, 1963), 211.
Beth Moore, John: 90 Days with The Beloved Disciple (B&H Publishing Group, 2008), 306.
After reading this, I realized how many days I had looked out my window only to be disappointed at the sight of clouds. This reading made me see that I should take comfort in the sight of clouds because they are a reminder of God's presence. There are many, many verses in the Bible that state this exact thing. Some of these were given in the above exerpt, but I would like to share some more with you.
One of the examples that we are most familiar with is the presence of God in the form of a cloud during the exodus of the Israelities:
"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way;...He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day," Exodus 13:21-22
"and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud." Exodus 16:10
"for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat." Leviticus 16:2
"Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud," Isaiah 19:1
"and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven," Daniel 7:13
"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Matthew 17:5
"and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Matthew 24:30
"And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:62
"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." Acts 1:9
There are several more, believe me. It was hard to refrain from including them all.
As I was looking up these verses in my concordance, I of couse had to look up the origin of the word. In the old testament, the word cloud is from the Hebrew word anan, which means to cover. As in covering the sky. The example listed was nimbus or thunder cloud. (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible-KJV)
In researching that on the internet, I found out that nimbus clouds are also nimbostratus clouds. These are the clouds we see when the sky is completely overcast. When the whole sky is one giant cloud. This makes sense, doesn't it? It would have to be that sort of cloud, because the glory of the Lord cannot be contained. Nimbostratus are most certainly rain clouds. So, when you see these clouds in the sky, you can know how the Israelites saw the sky as they were led by day.
In the New Testament, those clouds are from the Greek word nephele or nephos, simply meaning a cloud. The branch of meteorology that studies clouds is called "nephology." Which comes from that Greek work used in our Bible.
I just think it is so awesome that when we see a cloud in the sky, we can certainly know that God is there. Most of us like sunny days without a cloud in sight. I know those are the best days for going to the pool or laying out in the sun. But, now that I am aware of what significance the clouds hold, I won't mind a little partly cloudy.