Exodus 13:22 “He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
What seemed to be so frivolous to the children of Israel was actually the promise of God. The pillar of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night was likely very exciting at first but quickly became something that they got used to. Had they never taken the pillar of the cloud and fire for granted, they would never have done some of the dumb things they did. In fact, it didn't take them real long to forget about what these meant because the next thing you see Israel doing is complaining when they saw the Egyptian army pursuing them despite the cloud and fire still being there.
It is easy to criticize Israel on this side of their situation as we know the end of the story, but I am afraid that many of us are as guilty about taking the cloud and fire in our life for granted as they did. This pillar of the cloud and fire was more than just a cloud and fire; but they were a constant reminder to Israel of four things about the faithfulness of God. It says in the verse above that “He took not away” the cloud by day and the fire by night. So, what do these mean?
First, it means that He was not going to take away His presence from them. They had a constant reminder that God was in their lives. However, just like Israel had the pillar of the cloud and fire in their lives constantly to remind them of God’s presence in their lives, so the believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling them to remind them of His presence in their lives. Just like God did not take away the pillar of the cloud and fire from Israel, He likewise will never take away His presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
Second, it means that He was not going to take away His guiding hand. The pillar of the cloud and fire was God’s guidance in their lives. God will never stop guiding the believer if they will just follow Him. You may not always understand the path that God is taking you, but you must trust Him that His path is the right path. God’s path may not seem as direct to the destination that you want Him to take you, but His path is to the destination that He knows is best for you if you trust Him. Never doubt the providence of God in your life.
Third, it means that He was not going to take away His care. The pillar of the cloud and fire shielded Israel from the heat of the sun by day and the cool of the night. God always cares for His children, and we must never doubt His care for us. There are so many times in your life that God cares for you that you don't see. God will never take away His care and protection from His children. You may have to go through battles, but He will care for you and be with you while you go through them.
Fourth, it means that He was not going to take away His promise. The pillar of the cloud and fire was the constant reminder of God’s promise to Israel. God’s promises never fail. Many people in life will fail you, but God will never fail to fulfill His promises in His Word and in your life.
Because God will never take away these things, you must guard against getting used to them. The reason Israel murmured and complained so many times about God not helping them is because they got used to the pillar of the cloud and fire. You can keep the excitement of your Christianity forever if you never get used to God’s constant blessings and presence in your life.