God is always intentional. Everything He does is done for a reason.
God appearing to the Israelites as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was not random or inconsequential. God could have taken any form He wanted. He could have appeared as a man, as a mist, as a dove, as a small voice, as a trumpet blast. But God chose a cloud.
I don’t understand exactly why God chose a cloud, but I think it is interesting to compare/contrast the image God chose to reveal Himself and the image the Hebrews chose when they crafted a god.
A golden calf if tangible. It is shiny (if polished). It can be physically carried from place to place. It is visible. It can be located (there it is). It is an image
A cloud is tangible, but it cannot be contained. When you walk through a thick fog, you can feel it, see it, but you can’t hold it. When you inhale while standing in a fog, you can smell and taste it and feel the mist fill your lungs. You can see it. It moves. It is real.
A pillar of fire also is visible and tangible, but also cannot be held or contained. It emits light and heat and power. It permeates and it is reflected and absorbed. It moves. It is real.
I think this helps teach us about the attributes of God. God is not imaginary or figurative, He is real. He is visible. He is tangible, but He cannot be contained or controlled by man. He is not limited to a specific place or time, but He moves. He is all around us and inside us as well. He protects us, shields us, shelters us and lights our path. God is a God of Wonders that still have never been seen by any nation or people on this earth!
the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle
He dwelt among them
1 Cor 3:16 – Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (note: see also 16 Bible Verses about the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit)
Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle
Some days I am to be in a leadership role and some days I am to be a servant in the church, one, like others, bowing down to God