Monday, March 12, 2012

The Day the Cloud Moved

When the Israelites had made it to the banks of the Red Sea, they began to doubt and fret as they saw Pharaoh's army camp nearby. They begin to cry to Moses (Ex. 14:12), "Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness."

Moses assured them of God's deliverance as he replied, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Ex. 14:13-14).

Then God offered a further sign of hope that they were not expecting. "And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night" (Ex. 14:19-20).

God taught several important lessons when He moved the cloud:

1. His presence is with His people, both in front and behind. God literally "has our back." He will not allow former enemies to overcome us when we trust in Him.

2. Egypt is no option. How soon we forget our chains! As soon as their faith was challenged, the Israelites began to think about living in Egypt again. We need to remember that the slavery of sin is no picnic. It would be better to die for the Lord than to live in Egypt.

3. In the presence of God, there is light and peace and eternal deliverance. Those who have obeyed God and who are being led by Him are walking in the light. The cloud represented more than God's providencial care for His people. It also revealed that for those who choose to deny God's existence and power - darkness and everlasting death will be their fate.

We need to trust in God. He will lead us to the promised land. When we doubt and begin to think about trying the old life, He will shield our backs with His cloud.

"Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea." ~ 1 Corinthians 10:1-2

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