“Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:20-22
“And with a pillar of cloud Thou didst lead them by day and with a pillar of fire by night to light for them the way in which they were to go.” Nehemiah 9:12
Moses, a Hebrew by birth, was called by God to lead His Hebrew people out–from the ancient land of Egypt to a prayed-for promised land route. Through his obedience and God’s powerful hand, their burdened lives as slaves…came to be changed forever because the good Lord hears and saves.
God had heard their desperate cries–and had seen the severe oppression. After many God-sent plagues, Pharaoh finally made his concession. So hardhearted had he been, that it had taken a very mighty blow, to his own and all Egyptian families, before he would let God’s people go.
Many pestilences had been tried–including frogs and boils on man and beast–hail, insects, darkness, and finally, death of firstborns of the greatest man’s home to the least. That was the deciding plague, which caused the barrier to the Hebrews’ freedom to be broken–while they, in Goshen, were spared, for blood on their doorposts had “spoken.”
Yes, blood from an unblemished lamb on each lintel and doorpost was spread. This proclaimed that their lives should be preserved because of a lamb that had bled. They had shared the first Passover meal–a feast remembered to this day, which points to God’s sacrificial lamb in Christ–now the Good Shepherd who leads our way.
After the Passover, God guided His people with a pillar of cloud in their sight. And for gains through night-time travel, He led by a pillar of fire for needed light. Quick to regret, Pharaoh pursued the former captives to the brink of the great Red Sea; but the angel of God and God’s pillar of cloud kept the Hebrews secure and free.
This protection and time were needed, for Moses to stretch forth his hand. The Lord swept back the sea with a wind all night, creating, for the Hebrews, dry land. God’s people then made their way safely, with walls of water on each side. They followed the leadership of Moses, casting any fears they might have had aside.
God brought Pharaoh’s army into confusion. Then the Lord gave Moses the instruction–to stretch forth his hand again, which made way for the pursuers’ destruction. From out of the pillar of cloud, God caused the Egyptian’s chariot wheels to sway. The waters turned back and drowned them all, giving the Hebrews victory that day.
Protection and guidance were provided back then through God’s pillar of cloud and fire. Therefore, let’s seek the same Lord of those ancient days, who calls us to a life that’s higher. Today a “promised land” is yours through the leading of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Abundant life now and an eternal home with God are freely offered to everyone.
P. A. Oltrogge
(Based on the Old Testament account in the book of Exodus)
New Testament references:
“And Peter said to them ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38
Words of Jesus:
“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” John 10:10
“And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.'” Matthew 26:26-28
“These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He saiid, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” John 17: 1-3
“’Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.'” John 14:1-7
Scriptures: NASB, Ryrie Study Bible