Throughout Scripture, clouds symbolize a number of different activities of God, from God confronting Moses on Mt. Sinai to the light of the Holy Spirit being present in a cloud. Regardless of the context, clouds in the Bible represent God, who is hidden from sight but who is always there.
In one instance, God even plays "Master May I" using a cloud with his chosen people, the Israelites, just like the Mother May I game played in schoolyards.
In the schoolyard game, a child who is called on by a person playing the "Mother" must then say, “Mother, may I?” Mother then responds either “Yes” and the child can take the steps forward, or “No” and the child must comply. If the child forgets, he or she has to go back to the end of the line.
Read how God's game worked in the Book of Numbers.
"When the cloud moved from its place over the Tent, the Israelites moved, and wherever the cloud stopped, the Israelites camped. So the Israelites moved at the Lord's command, and they camped at his command. While the cloud stayed over the Tent, they remained camped. Sometimes the cloud stayed over the Tent for a long time, but the Israelites obeyed the Lord and did not move. Sometimes the cloud was over it only a few days. At the Lord's command the people camped, and at his command they moved. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from dusk until dawn; when the cloud lifted the next morning, the people moved. When the cloud lifted, day or night, the people moved. The cloud might stay over the Tent for two days, a month, or a year. As long as it stayed, the people camped, but when it lifted, they moved. At the Lord's command the people camped, and at his command they moved. They obeyed the Lord's order that he commanded through Moses." (Numbers 9:17-23)
The takeaway for us is simple. We go when God tells us to go and stay when God tells us to stay. If we don't, things don't go as well as expected, as God expected. It's called "waiting on the Lord," something the Bible mentions 15 times in the Old and New Testaments. It's called being prayerfully obedient. It's called playing the "Master May I" game according to the Master's rules.