In reading through my Bible in 2013, one verse in the Book of Nahum stood out to me above all others. It was Nahum 1:3 which ends with, the clouds are the dust of His feet. Yes, I had read the verse before, but this time it seemed to call me to take notice -- maybe because I have recently moved to Hawaii and the clouds here are always beautiful and constantly changing. Every morning I walk my dog on the hillside where I live or sometimes in the adjoining valley or at the beach, and now, as I walk, I find that I am fascinated by clouds. They are always different in size, shape, color, texture, and density. They seem to tell the story of the day.
Early morning clouds are different from evening clouds. Sunset clouds can be dazzling. A hot sunny day brings on the white, puffy, cumulus clouds, while ominous gray nimbus clouds signal rain. But, what did Nahum mean when he said, the clouds are the dust of His feet?
About a century before Nahum wrote, Jonah had prophesied the destruction of Nineveh. However, the people of Nineveh had repented and God had stayed the judgment. Nahum’s prophecy depicts the execution of that judgment over one hundred years later. In his prophecy, Nahum portrays the sovereignty of God by describing His mighty power over His creation -- the wind, the sea, rivers, rocks, flowers, mountains, and clouds. Furthermore, Nahum declared, The Lord is good, and a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7). But He will not acquit the wicked. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet (Nahum 1:3).
So when I walk outside and behold the ever-changing beauty of “the dust of His feet,” I am reminded of the message of His true word, especially through the prophet Nahum. As they lightly float across the sky, the clouds remind me of God’s tender mercies. The sun shining brightly through the clouds and tingeing their edges with silver and gold reminds me of His grace which He has lavished upon us. When the dark clouds come, I am reminded of His anger at sin and of His judgment. Often, here in Hawaii, the clouds come with a rainbow that reminds me of His promise in Genesis Chapter 9, It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh (verses 14-15).
One morning last week, as I drove to the valley for an early morning walk, the clouds had settled low upon the mountain tops and that reminded me that God had sent His Son to walk with us here on the earth. But Jesus came down much lower than the mountain tops, right into the dirt and grime and sin of the streets. He had to do that in order to save us.
I find clouds to be incredible. They are part of God's art gallery. They give comfort and joy and they also give warning. They give a bit of respite when they pass across the sun on a blazing hot day. Sometimes the clouds form shapes of animals, faces, or even angels. They can give predictions of what the weather will be on any given day. And they are merely the dust of God’s feet.
Please don’t rush too fast through 2014. It is worth it to take time to stop, observe, and contemplate the dust of His feet. (And be sure to have your camera handy.)
Picture credits, top to bottom.
1. Sunset clouds over Waikiki -- taken from the street where I live
2. Picture by Marchelle Klein, my daughter-in-love and our youth lessons writer -- at Redondo Beach, CA
3. Clouds with rainbow from my back yard
4. Manoa Valley, Honolulu, HI -- taken from my car
5. Picture by my son, Scott -- at the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia
All pictures courtesy of God's amazing creation!
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.