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Monday, May 20, 2013

Pillar of Fire and Cloud


Exodus 13:17-14:31 NIV

Crossing the Sea

17When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.a The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

19Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”b

20After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.


Exodus 14:1-31 
        

1Then the Lord said to Moses, 2“Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain Glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.

5When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemena and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.

10As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

13Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

15Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.18The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

19Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

23The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. 24During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. 25He jammedbthe wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

26Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing towardc it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. 28The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.

29But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31And when the Israelites saw the Mighty Hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant.



Exodus 13:17-14:31


The Lord went before them in a pillar, or appearance of the Divine Majesty. Christ was with the church in the wilderness, 1Corinthians 10:9. Those whom God brings into a wilderness, He will not leave nor lose there, but will take care to lead them through it. It was great satisfaction to Moses and the pious Israelites, to be sure that they were under Divine guidance. Those who make the Glory of God their end, and the Word of God their rule, the Spirit of God the guide of their affections, and the Providence of God the guide of their affairs, may be sure that the Lord goes before them, though they cannot see it with their eyes: we must now live by faith.

When Israel marched, this pillar went before, and pointed out the place of encampment, as Divine Wisdom saw fit. It sheltered by day from the heat, and gave light by night. The Bible is a light to our feet, a lantern to our paths, with which the Savior's love has provided us. It testifies of Christ. It is to us like the pillar to the Israelites. Listen to that voice which cries, “I am the Light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life”. John 8:12. Jesus Christ alone, as shown in the Bible, and as the Holy Spirit, in answer to prayer, recommends Him to the soul, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, John 14:6.

Pharaoh would think that all Israel was entangled in the wilderness, and so would become an easy prey. But God says, I will be honored through Pharaoh. All men being made for the honor of their Maker, those whom He is not honored by, He will be honored upon.
Though with the greatest reason he had let Israel go, yet now he was angry with himself for it. God makes the envy and rage of men against His people, a torment to themselves. Those who set their faces heavenward, and will live godly in Christ Jesus, must expect to be set upon by Satan's temptations and terrors.

There was no way open to Israel but upward, and thence their deliverance came. Some cried out unto the Lord; their fear led them to pray, and that was good. God brings us into straits, that He may bring us to our knees. Others cried out against Moses. They quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt and Moses says, Fear not, Stand still, think not to save yourselves either by fighting or flying; wait God's orders, and observe them.

Moses' silent prayers of faith prevailed more with God than Israel's loud outcries of fear. The pillar of cloud and fire came behind them, where they needed a guard, and it was a wall between them and their enemies. The word and providence of God have a black and dark side toward sin and sinners, but a bright and pleasant side toward the people of the Lord. He, Who divided between light and darkness, Genesis 1:4, allotted darkness to the Egyptians, and light to the Israelites. Such a difference there will be between the inheritance of the saints in light, and that utter darkness which will be the portion of hypocrites forever.

14:21-31 The dividing the Red sea was the terror of the Canaanites, Joshua 2:9; the praise and triumph of the Israelites, Psalm 114:3; 106:9; 136:13. It was a type of baptism, 1Corinthians 10:1, 2. Israel's passage through it was typical of the conversion of souls, Isaiah 11:15; and the Egyptians being drowned in it was typical of the final ruin of all unrepentant sinners. God showed His Almighty Power, by opening a passage through the waters, some miles over. They went through the sea, they walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea.

Moses was ordered to stretch out his hand over the sea; the waters returned, and overwhelmed all the host of the Egyptians. Pharaoh and his servants, who had hardened one another in sin, now fell together, not one escaped. The Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sands. His enemies rage, and are mighty; but while he holds fast by God, he shall pass the waves in safety guarded by that very power of his Savior. The enemies of his soul whom he has seen today, he shall see no more forever.

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