God In the Lead
Mighty God, all I know of You calls out for my praise. How great You are!
Read Exodus 13:17-22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The symbol of our final destination is an empty tomb, and God continues to guide us by his Word and Spirit along the way. What a hope is ours!
The company is on the move. They are not expecting things to be easy; they are armed (18). People who looked after cattle and sheep would be trained to use weapons to defend them, but these would seem light beside the arms of the Egyptian forces. The direct road to Canaan was a vital trade route between Africa and Asia or Europe. It would be heavily patrolled by Egypt, so God leads them by a different route. These verses indicate various ways God guides. The direct speech of verse 17 would seem to indicate God guiding through the mind and mouth of Moses his prophet. It pictures God like a shepherd steering his flock away from a hazard which might cause them to be startled and bolt back the way they came.
Then there is the highly significant object they are bringing: the coffin containing Joseph’s embalmed body (19). His brothers had taken the oath to return it one day to Canaan (Gen. 50:24-26; Josh. 24:32). Joseph’s story would be well-known: a savior during a famine and initially the protector of Israel in Egypt. His dying wish for himself was linked to the prophecy that God would be faithful to his covenant with Abraham. The coffin is a solid reminder of God’s Word, not yet written but passed down orally. It indicates that their destination is Canaan.
Finally, there is the column of cloud and fire (21,22). It is probably smoke, appearing like cloud by day, lit up by its fire at night. These are powerful symbols of the presence of God. Visible throughout the camp or at the head of the procession when they move, it keeps them all aware that they are on a journey in which the stops and starts, the twists and turns are known in advance to God alone.
Have you experienced God’s guidance recently? What pillar or cloud assured you that the Lord was guiding you? List the ways his direction is given to us, his children.
Gracious Lord, may the eyes of my mind look to You, and my heart be in tune with the prompting of Your Spirit.