This week we will continue our study of Exodus.
As we continue our LOVE quest, we will find that there is so much LOVE found in chapters 7-14 of Exodus.
It is in these chapters that God shows His POWER and PROTECTION to the Israelites. This is where God orchestrates the 10 plagues to fall upon the Egyptians. It is also where God destroys the Egyptians and then leads the Israelites through the wilderness. For time's sake, I am not going to focus on each plague and Godly sign individually, but I am going to discuss them as a whole. Together we will discover the importance of these magnificent displays, and in doing so we will see that they all took place for one purpose:
To PROVE God's LOVE for His people!!
We will begin our lesson with a quick summary of how God rescued His children out of slavery, then we will dive into chapter 13 of Exodus. In chapter 13 we will discover that God's presence never left His children. He led and protected them every step of the way to the promised land.
If you have not yet read chapters 7-14, I would suggest that you do so before moving on with this lesson. :)
Focus for this lesson:
Exodus 13: 20-22
Lesson in 3 parts:
The Escape from Slavery
God Led His Children
Connection to our Lives
Much of my information comes from: Torahclass.com- I LOVE that site!!! _______________________________________________________________________________________
The Escape from Slavery
Before God led His people through the wilderness, He had to help them escape their bondage. They were being held captive as slaves in Egypt. It was time for God to save His children. God had the perfect plan for their escape. Through the destruction caused by the 10 plagues, God would demonstrate His power to the Israelites. He would show both His children and the Egyptians that He alone was the ONE TRUE GOD! (Exodus chapters 7-12)
Remember, the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. During their time in Egypt they were immersed in Egyptian customs and worship. At this time in history people believed that there were MANY gods. Each area and group of people had their own gods; many had several gods. The more "gods" an area declared the more prestige that group of people had. God knew this. He was aware that His children, the Israelites, even believed this. He needed to change their thinking. To do this He would need to demonstrate that HIS power was stronger than any other "god" of that time.
He had a plan. He decided to use the 10 plagues as a way to show the Israelites who He truly was. He WAS and IS the only ONE TRUE GOD! He wanted to SHOW His children this! He knew that it would mean more to them to SHOW who He truly was than if He just TOLD them. God was aware that actions speak louder than words!
Because the Israelites were so important to God, It was vital to God that they SEE His power and LOVE for them before He brought them out of Egypt. He wanted His children to be able to trust Him. The 10 plagues and other Godly signs were Yahweh's way of introducing Himself to His children as being the ONE TRUE GOD!
It is not until later that God commands His children to ONLY worship Him. I love this! This waiting on God's part demonstrates so much LOVE. God took the time to PROVE Himself to His children BEFORE He asked them to follow Him out of Egypt. Then He waited a little longer before He commanded them to ONLY worship Him. He wanted them To KNOW Him before He gave this command.
LATER in Exodus:
Exodus 20: 3-5
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
God Led His Children
After the Israelites escaped from Egypt they then began their pilgrimage to the Promised Land (Canaan). It is important for us to see that God NEVER left His children alone on this journey. He was with the Israelites in the wilderness every step of the way. He was there right beside them and He wanted them to know this. Just like any loving father would, He wanted to reassure His children. He wanted them to feel safe and confident on their journey, so He created a special way to let His presence be known. He used a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of light by night to guide them. The Israelites could look up anytime day or night and see that God was with them! I LOVE THIS!
For me, the presence of the pillar of cloud by day and light by night is INCREDIBLE!! Knowing that God was WITH His children EVERY step of the way gives me SO MUCH comfort! If He was with them that means He is with ME!!! GOD NEVER CHANGES!!! :)
Exodus 13: 20-22
Important FACTS we do not need to miss from these verses:
1. The verb "went" in Hebrew is "halak" which means to walk... at times it can mean to carry also.
* God LITERALLY walked with them, sometimes even carried them.. Isn't this amazing!
2. The word "cloud" comes from a Hebrew word which means to cover or protect.
* God was not only leading them... He was also PROTECTING and COVERING them!
3. The word "pillar" in Hebrew is "ammud" which is a noun for a column or pillar which stands firmly never-changing. The verb form "amad" means literally to stand.
* God continuously stood firmly with them. He never sat. He never rested. He was constantly protecting and guiding them.
Connection to Our Lives Today
Just as the Israelites were on a journey to their promised land (Canaan),
we too are on a journey to our promised land (Heaven).
God provided the Israelites with a pillar to lead and protect them.
He also provides us with a pillar: The Holy Spirit!
The Israelites' pillar was always standing- always leading and protecting them.
Likewise, the Holy Spirit is always standing and is always ready to lead and protect us.
God never left the Israelites alone on the wilderness road; day or night He was there.
In the same way, He will never leave us on our wilderness road. He never sleeps. Day or night, He is always there!
He walked with them and carried them-
He will do the same for us!
The Israelites had to stay alert and FOLLOW His lead. They had to stop when their pillar guide stopped, and move when it moved.
We must do the same! We must intentionally STAY on God's path! We must Not walk ahead of God and not lag too far behind God!
Following right behind God is sometimes difficult to do. Even people who have put their faith in God for years struggle with this. The key is patience. For me the hardest part is WAITING. God rarely gives people a clear sign of what to do at the onset of a situation, but He has a SET PLAN. His plan usually involves GROWTH before MOVEMENT. In God's plan He has things He wants to teach us and show us BEFORE He asks us to move. Most people struggle with this. They think that God's lack of direction in their lives means one of two things: either God isn't listening, OR He is wanting them to figure it out on their own. Neither is the case.
For me, if I do not get a direction from God to move- I know I SHOULD NOT MOVE! This is the hardest thing for me! I am not good at WAITING. I have barged through many WRONG doors and have regretted the consequences. Praying is essential. Staying IN HIS WORD is vital. WAITING on Him to direct me is critical! I have been a Christian for many years and this continues to be an area in my faith walk that still needs strengthening.
Examples in my life:
God sometimes leads me by CLOSING wrong doors on my path.... Jobs I should not take, houses I should not buy, people I should not date (before I met my husband) ... etc. When God closes doors, I am learning to look at those shut doors as BLESSINGS. The Lord has something BETTER in store for me- I just have to WAIT on Him!!!
Through waiting- God has blessed me with an AMAZING husband, a beautiful house, and a wonderful new group of friends through this Bible Study... just to name a few things.
I know when something is a BLESSING from God because it happens so naturally- I do not have to FORCE it or STRESS over it- GOD leads me to it and it just FALLS INTO PLACE- THAT is when I KNOW I am following God's lead :)
What about you? How do you know when you are following God's lead in your life?