Exodus 40:36–37 (ESV): 36 Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up.
God’s presence was manifested to the Israelites during their wilderness journey as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Before they crossed the Red Sea, the cloud went between the people and Pharaoh‘s murderous army set on revenge against Israel. When the Tabernacle was dedicated to God, the cloud enveloped the tent in such a way so that even Moses with his shining face could not enter.
Now Moses explains that if God’s presence lifted from the tent, it was a sign for the people to pack up and go. If God’s presence remained, they stayed put.
Our lives as Christ’s followers should be marked by a similar attention to God’s glory. If God’s glory goes before us, we should keep up. If his glory remains, we should not take off on some adventure of our own.
Heavenly Father, may my life be marked by a passionate pursuit of your glory. Amen.