Tag Archives: exodus

Clouds

There’s this quote, “Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.” I’ve heard it used in the church to explain where God is during a tragedy. That he’s still shining, present, even though all we see are the dark clouds around us. But I want to challenge that.

What if God isn’t just the sun shining behind the clouds? What if God is in the clouds themselves?

I’m not saying that God creates tragedy in our lives, but he definitely works in those tragedies for our good. When my daughters each passed away, God was preparing communities, relationships, and even my own heart to enter into that tragedy. He worked in those moments, days, and weeks to show his power and presence in my life. He never left my side.

In a recent devotional, it showed how God’s presence in clouds is depicted in both the Old and New Testament. In Exodus, the Israelites were led by a cloud when they left Egypt, and once the tabernacle was built, the cloud remained.

So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

Exodus 40:38

In the New Testament, Peter, James and John, along with Jesus, go up the Mount to witness the Transfiguration, and God makes himself known again from a cloud.

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Mark 9:7

Clouds, like tragedy, can be uncertain. Anyone who has driven through thick fog can attest to that. We don’t know exactly when things will become clearer, but knowing that God is within that uncertainty, working in ways too great for me to understand, can bring me a sense of peace and hope. One day, the clouds will part, the fog will lift, and we will see everything as clear as a bright sunny day.

Support (Exodus 17)

Between the stories of the Red Sea and the Ten Commandments, the Amalekites attack the Israelites in the desert in a place called Rephidim.  A little cool history about the Amalekites.  They descended from Amalek, the grandson of Esau (Jacob’s brother).  Also, the grandson of Adah, Esau’s wife, who was the daughter of Elon the Hittite, one of the Canaanite women that Esau married that “grieved” his parents (Genesis 26:35).

On Moses’s direction, Joshua (the one who will eventually lead the people into the actual promised land) takes some men and fights the Amalekites.  Moses goes to the top of a hill and raises his hands to the Lord.  Whenever they were raised, Israel was winning.  And when he lowered them, the Amalekites were winning.

But Moses wasn’t on this hill alone.  The text says that Aaron and Hur were with him.  I did some brief digging, and according to Jewish tradition, Hur was Miriam’s husband, so basically Moses’s closest family was with him on this hill.  When they noticed he was tiring, they provided a stone for him to sit on and held his hands up for him, one on each side, so that he could have a little respite.  And with their help, the Israelites defeated the Amalekites.

Have you ever held your hands up for a long period of time?  As time goes on, the arms feel heavier and heavier.  Moses was an old man at this point.  Aaron was his older brother, and Hur had to also be around their ages as well. So no one on this hill had immense youth or vigor, but together, they managed to keep Moses’s arms up until sunset.

I don’t know about you, but friends, I’m getting tired.  This year has been crushing for so many reasons.  So many of us have lost loved ones, been pushed into unknown and uncertain terrains, and we all long for a sense of normalcy in our lives.

Sometimes just making it to the end of my day with my family fed and the house still standing is considered a win.  And that’s okay. But I’m also called to love my neighbor, stand up for what is right, speak truth in love. And my arms are getting tired.

But I also realize that I’m not meant to do any of that alone.  We need the encouragement, the propping up of others.  No one gets through this life without others.  All through our life, we depend on caretakers, mentors, teachers, and our community as a whole to do the things we are meant to do.

What Aaron and Hur did for Moses wasn’t some great feat.  They did what they were able to do to help win the war against the Amalekites.  It inspires me. I don’t have to be the Moses, the achiever all the time. I can be the support, and it doesn’t have to be a great big showy thing. What small thing can I do to help prop up another?  Maybe it’s prayer.  Maybe it’s saying good morning to a neighbor. Maybe it’s sharing a post of another writer or liking a comment of a friend. 

So, I leave you with this.  Keep your hands raised toward heaven.  Help lift up others who are doing the same.  Because sunset is almost here, and we will win this war together.