The Moving of the cloud was the LORD's Command. When the cloud moved, they moved; and when the cloud stopped, they stopped.
The LORD's guidance was impossible to miss. It is hard to miss a burning tower of cloud!
Does the LORD guide His people today? Yes. The biggest difference is that now the guidance is internal rather than external. Today He does not lead by a cloud which appears before us, but by the Holy Spirit within us.
We might read passages like this and wish we were in their place. It would make the journey easier if we were guided by a fiery pillar. How awesome it would be to see the shekinah glory cloud of God's presence resting above His people!
A burning cloud seems a huge advantage when it comes to Divine guidance. But are we really at a disadvantage? Absolutely not! We have something far better today--we have a relationship with the Guide! His Divine Presence is always in our hearts! "Don't you know that your body is a sanctuary (tabernacle) of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
We must train ourselves to recognize the Spirit's moving. We must discipline ourselves to obey His nudging. We must train ourselves to hear and respond to His voice in His Word and in our hearts. The more we obey, the more sensitive we become to His nudging. The more we respond to His voice, the more sensitive our hearts become to His voice. We hear... we listen... we obey... we hear.... It is the same as the "law of sowing and reaping." We the more we sow, the more we reap. In this case the more we obey, the more we hear.
Keep listening... and keep obeying! Tune your ears to hear His voice and your hearts to obey His commands.
May the promptings of the Holy Spirit within you become as obvious as the moving of a tornado of fire in the desert!