The way in which God dealt with the Israelites as a people group is a type of how He deals with us as individuals under the new covenant. The Lord set His Holy Spirit among the Israelites as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Under the new covenant, He has set His Spirit within us individually in our inner beings. Just as the pillar of cloud and fire was a guide and gave light to the Israelites, so the Holy Spirit within us guides and gives us light for our journey through the mortal life. The pillar of cloud and fire was the Israelites’ constant guide on their wilderness wanderings and, unless the cloud moved on, they stayed put. They would only set out if the cloud moved on and they would follow the cloud to the next place. They did not know from day to day what the cloud’s movements would be. So it is with the Holy Spirit, we cannot predict his direction but we need daily to tune our focus to His presence on the inside of us and pay attention to His leading.
Place – the Holy Spirit was set among the Israelites [Isa 63:11-14 NIV]
Function – guidance and light [Exo 13:21-22 NIV] [Psa 119:105 NIV] [Neh 9:12, 19-20 NIV] [Deu 1:33 NIV]
Focus – follow the cloud [Num 9:15-22 NIV]
Visibility – darkness or light [Exo 14:19-20 NIV] known but not seen – [Jhn 14:16-17 NIV] [Jhn 14:22-23 NKJV] light shines in our hearts [2Co 4:3-6 NKJV]