Read: Exodus 13-16
Reflect: Although the Israelite’s wilderness experience is intertwined with Moses here, I’m going to focus only on Moses. We will come back for the Israelites separately.
“20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By 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. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
Moses was leading the Israelites our of Egypt, but he didn’t need to question God’s presence. It was physically apparent for all to see.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to theLord. 11 They 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? 12 Didn’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!”
13 Moses 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. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise 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. 17 I 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. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
19 Then 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, 20 coming 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.
This section includes one of my life verses. Exodus 14:14 Moses encourages the Israelites to trust that God can fight for them without their help and then God says to Moses what are you crying about? ACT!
The Israelites enter safely into a new land and their wilderness is about to be physical and mental. Moses is learning right along side the Israelites. He cries out to God for water and learns that God will yet again provide in Exodus 15.
25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
Record: Exodus 16 repeats another lesson that God is a provider. Does anything specific stick out to you with this lesson?
Does Moses seem a little hot and cold with his faith? Why do you think that is?
What ways has God revealed himself as your provider?
Have you ever felt God direct your path as clearly as the Israelite’s journey began?
Review: As we moved from the cornfields to the mountains we left everything that was familiar to us. Everyone we encountered was a stranger and every new experience took a lot of energy to decipher. There were many times when it would have seemed reasonable to doubt our choices as being God-driven, but God’s peace covered us in a way that was as clear as the pillar of cloud and fire was to the Israelites.
There were times when I cried out just as Moses did for God to provide financially as we balanced still owning a home in a different state and having a household in the mountains. Just as Moses experienced, our answers came, but in a much different form than we expected. A house was rented, not sold, a job provided, not rest. The provision did not look exactly like I asked it to, but it was clearly from God.
Just like the Israelites, all I needed to do was stand and watch as each month God provided for our family. Just like the Israelites, fear got the best of me and I doubted the next provision would come.