SOAP Journal – 17 November 2016 (Exodus 14:19-20)

The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.

Exodus 14:19-20

Israel has been led to the edge of the Red Sea. The Egyptian army is in pursuit. Things do not look good. The Israelites panic, accusing Moses of leading them out into the desert to die. Moses tells them that God will do the fighting and that they just need to be quiet. God tells Moses to lead the people forward, but forward is the Red Sea, so God includes instructions about what Moses is to do in order to open up a path forward. After all of that has transpired, then come the verses tht caught my attention this morning.

God had already given the Israelites instruction on what to do and how to do it. All that was left for them was to obey. Then God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them. This is a very necessary strategic maneuver. In order for the camp of Israel to get across the Red Sea, they would need time. Time was something they did not have with Pharaoh and his army breathing down their necks. So God intervened and provided the thing they did not have. To do so, He had to move His guidance — the pillar of cloud — to a place where they must go forward without it. He had given instruction about where to go and how to get there, now they had to act based on that revelation, not based on the sign that they had been following.

In this moment, I see God giving a principle. I see the principle that God may sometimes lead explicitly, as in the pillar of cloud, and sometimes lead by instruction. It occurs to me as I read that the times wherein He leads by instruction and revelation may be the times that He has my back. The Israelites were told to cross the Red Sea, then God had their back while they did. It may very well be that God tells me to go forward in some fashion and falls silent because He now expects me to do my part while He takes care of things about which I am unaware or can do nothing to help which is what He does here. God gets between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. God acts as a safety against the enemy who is nearby.

Father, thank You for being not only my Guide, but also the One Who has my back. Circumstances have a tendency to blindside me and it is good to know that those times have been permitted and that more serious threats are still stuck behind the pillar of cloud, waiting for You to drown them in the sea. Please bring this to the front of my mind when adversaries are nipping at my heels and the enemy of my soul is too close to my comfort. Please remind me that the pillar of cloud and of fire still stands between that which would do me harm and me.

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