The Israelite’s exodus from Egypt is one of the most engaging stories in the Bible! You read of the calling on Moses, the plagues of Pharaoh’s land and the Israelite’s trek through the wilderness. All of it is impressive and amazing to contemplate. However when you come to the passage about God dwelling with them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night you can only stop and just imagine the power of God.
While I was reading this morning something caught my attention:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, “If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.” (Exodus 13:17) You see God wanted them away from the Egyptians so they could be free to worship Him. As the Egyptian’s slaves they also were incredibly mistreated and God heard their cries. He would rescue them but it would not be easy and because of their tendency to go back to the things which would destroy them (like idol worship), God wanted this experience to be something unforgettable, something that would be seared into their hearts and minds forever.
So God led them through the wilderness.
Have you ever been on a roundabout in a little town? You can always see where you want to go, but there’s always someone in front of you or a person on your right turning into your lane and you cannot tell who has the right of way. Going on a roundabout takes some patience, even practice if you want to make it out unscathed.
Sometimes God takes us on the roundabout. For many years I’ve felt a specific calling on my heart, yet the door has never fully opened for it. I’ve seen it opened for other people and closed for some as well but it’s always obvious God is in the mix, taking someone where He wants them most. For some reason I’m still here. Have you been on a roundabout with God? Trying to figure out which way to go? Trying to head in the right direction? When God took the people in that direction, He took them the long way around, and He did it because it was the best thing for them. He was protecting His people. He wants to protect us in the same way.
What would happen, if you make a commitment to go wherever He leads you? Even if it’s not where you want to be right now? Even if it’s not the place you think you’re destined for? Who knows, you may still get there, just not right now. And why go where He hasn’t obviously opened up the door and led you?
Look at this:
The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Imagine that you are one of those Israelite’s and your God is before you as a pillar of light, you’re in the wilderness surrounded by complete darkness, howling animals, the fear of Pharaoh, and the weight of all you’re carrying on your back. Would you turn and walk in any other direction besides the one you’re being pointed in by your God? Of course you wouldn’t, that would be a death sentence!
Remember today, you can follow, because He is leading. Where you see His presence, go. Where you hear His voice, go. Where you know He is changing lives, go.