This describes how the Lord guided and protected His people, Israel, on their forty-year journey through the wilderness of Sinai. He spread out a cloud as a covering in the daytime and in the night He gave them fire that provided both light and warmth.
It so happens that as a soldier in World War II, I made a week’s journey through that Sinai desert and I learned something there, which enabled me to understand the wonders of God’s provision. In the daytime the desert is very hot, but at night it becomes bitterly cold and I saw how beautifully God had provided. In the daytime that cloud was a shield that protected them from the heat of the sun’s rays, but at night it became a fire that gave them both light and needed warmth. And that was how God guided His people for forty years through the wilderness.
We understand from the New Testament that the cloud that became a fire at night is for us a type, or a prefiguring, of the Holy Spirit and that God now guides His people similarly through this world by the Holy Spirit – that the Holy Spirit is the same. In times of heat, He’s a cloud that overshadows us and protects us; and in times of darkness, He’s a fire that gives us light; and when it’s cold all around us, He gives us supernatural warmth. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” That’s God’s provision for His people today.