When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.” And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.
Exodus 13:17-22 ESV
I have so much appreciation of God’s gentleness when reading this passage. Here is a God who did not want His people to get scared and slide back to their slavery – chartered a safer course of setting them apart in the wilderness before they conquered the Promised Land. And as I imagine what was like to travel with pillar or cloud and fire. Sure, God did not want His people walk in the heat of the sun on a desert and have them freeze to death at night. Of course, God did not only save the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt He went before them to lead the way back to Canaan. He could have tell them “Okay sons of Israel, you are now free at last and I’m done, see you in Canaan when you get there.” But He didn’t because He is a God of promise and He will finish what He started. Isn’t the Lord amazing!!!
Same thing when we accept Jesus in our lives. Once we received His gift of salvation and have relationship with Him, He will journey with us as He sanctify us to give glory to the Father. He sends us the Holy Spirit to continually guide us as He perfects our faith. Jesus looks after us and prays for us not to slide back to our old ways, He knows our struggle with the remnants of our own Egypt. But rest assured He is there every step of the way with His grace so ready to transform us to be people after God’s heart. ❤❤❤
Soli Deo Gloria!
PS: How touching it is that the sons of Israel remembered and fulfilled the request of Joseph to carry his bones with them when they go back to the Promised Land. This is also a testament to God’s faithfulness, for sure He caused Joseph’s request to be remembered even after more than 400 years had passed.
And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
Genesis 50:24-25 ESV