Clouds – Part 1
Recognise any of these names – cumulus, alto-cumulus, nimbus, cirrus, stratus…? They’re all types of clouds. If you’re an experienced outdoors type, you may be able to recognise them and know what kind of weather is coming your way… Basically they do what they look like! If they look nasty, they probably are! If they look white and fluffy, they are! The Bible has lots to say about clouds. In this first session, we’ll look at clouds and the great God who created them, mainly from the book of Job
Job 26:8 – He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
Job 35:5 – Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you.
Job 36:28 – The clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind.
Job 36:29 – Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion?
Job 37:16 – Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
The picture below was taken in Colorado at a place by Gem Lake. Clouds are spectacular creations by God and incredibly varied. The cloud coming over is called a lenticular cloud that often forms over mountains. They can look a bit spooky, almost looking like a UFO or a ‘hat’ over a mountain.
We can sometimes forget quite how awesome God is. He created the entire world – every cloud, every creature, every plant, every day. He also holds the whole world in his hands. The verses in Job tell us how God wraps up water in clouds yet they don’t burst under the weight! The clouds are different every day and can cover the sky or part of the sky. They float past on the wind, held up almost by some magic force. Yet they are essential for mankind – we need the water that clouds take up and then release to live. While science and meteorology (study of weather) can tell us many of the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of clouds, no-one can fully explain them.
In the same way, we cannot explain God. By nature, God is beyond our understanding. He is above what we think and as Job found out, he is beyond anything and when we see God as he truly is, it leaves us speechless and in awe of him.
Job 42.1-3 – I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
A Prayer: Lord, I know that you are beyond my understanding and above everything. Yet you know and love me completely. Your ways are higher than mine and you are the one who holds the world and my life in your hands. Thank you that you are at work in my life uniquely as you made me unique. You are working all things for good. Amen.
Clouds – Part 2
Are you the kind of person who can see ‘shapes’ in things? Sometimes I look at a picture, a ceiling, the clouds and can see shapes and pictures in it. I was once in a mountain area and took the photo below. It’s like the photo is in motion and moving from left to right. But more than that, the bottom right of the photo looks like it is a person’s head – you can see the ‘eye’ with the cloud ‘wearing a hat’, a bit like a pilot of a ship or something! Anyone else see that
Deuteronomy 33 in the Bible says this (NIV):
The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze,Deuteronomy 33.25-28
and your strength will equal your days.
‘There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
who rides across the heavens to help you
and on the clouds in his majesty.
The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
saying, “Destroy them!”
So Israel will live in safety;
Jacob will dwell secure
in a land of grain and new wine,
where the heavens drop dew.
The Bible talks about God ‘riding across the heavens’. Psalm 18.10 describes something similar and in Psalm 104.3 it says “He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.”
So what has that got to do with me and you in the 21st century? Well the Bible makes it clear that God is in charge of things. Not everything that happens in our world is what God wants because we have an enemy (the devil) and humans make bad choices in a messed up world. But God is in charge of things. He holds the world and our lives in his hand. There is nothing that surprises God and there is nothing that is bigger than God. The Bible gives us confidence that (in the words of the song), ‘Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.’ The one who rides on the clouds also made the clouds. God’s plan will work out and God’s ways will be done. Even when it feels like things are out of control, God is in control. He will help you, deliver you, bring you through and wants to bring his people into a place of safety and provision. One day that will happen completely when Jesus returns and puts everything back as it should be. Until that time, know that God is your defender, rescuer, helper and will give you the strength that you need. Just ask.
A Prayer: Lord, thank you that you ride on the heavens. You set the earth in its place and are the creator of all things. You have got me covered and your plans will happen. Lord help us to be who you want us to be so we can see your kingdom come and your will be done on earth like in heaven.