"And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys." Ex 40:36-38
Do you think it was a happy occasion when the cloud rolled up and it was time to move. It must have a majestic sight. Most trips we take are planned in some way. We buy our tickets in advance. We plan where we will stop to sleep and approximately how long our car trips will be. How do you do that following a cloud? You can't.
"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Is 40:11
I am sure that they found God to be a good Shepard. One sensitive to the needs of millions at once. There were many trials during this time in the wilderness... many died... a whole old generation passed while a new generation was born. That new one only knew the leading of the cloud and the bondage of Eygpt was a history recounted to them.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Cor 2:14-16
To the new man bondage and stationary life is a story that must be told to it because the he is a cloud follower. The new man is lead down pathways it never planned. There is much room to roam in the wide open spaces of each destination but travel is done in tribal formation and at the cues of One who is not letting anyone in on each rest stop beforehand.
Here is a great quote:
'Can you imagine functioning in the letter while the Spirit has moved forward in the plan of God? We lose our understanding in the light when we are persuaded to be stationary and stagnant in our own plan. People actually stay behind God when God has moved on... Those who stay in their place never can determine what God is doing in His place. The flesh separates them from the eternal mind of God. They choose to live in the unexpected end of time instead of the unexpectedness of a plan that expects only God.' -Dr Carl Stevens
There is such freedom in God's grace. There is also fire by night to see by and be warmed by... a clear landmark of a cloud that is present in every changing destination. If our life of faith were a photo album then the cloud would be present in every picture.
Our freedom is structured by God's leading but not regulated by law. We have light as we travel with Him. Our hearts burns within us as we learn the finished work on the road (see Luke 24:32) as we see Jesus in every book from Genesis to Revelation.
Freedom isn't freedom apart from holiness. The cloud is the landmark that reminds me that I am on a faith journey going somewhere special. My old man will never make it to that place but the new man that is my new identity will find a home there.