Monday, April 28, 2014

Join me for this Exodus!

Exodus 14:19-20     "The angel of God,* who had been leading Israel’s army, now moved and went around behind them. And the column of cloud, moving from in front of them, took up its place behind them, so that it came between the Egyptian army and that of Israel. And when it became dark, the cloud illumined the night; and so the rival camps did not come any closer together all night long."

This part of the story of Exodus keeps playing through my head.  The Israelites (who are not the most trusting people) follow Moses out of Egypt, where the Egyptian Army is in hot pursuit. Pharoah is one angry little potato who feels he's been hoodwinked by these Israelites, and it's about to get Epic! I've heard this story lots of times.  The Red Sea parts, the Israelites pass through on dry land, and the Egyptian pursuers are drowned.  All of them. 

When I listen to Bible readings, I try to put myself in them.  I wonder where I would be.  This one was easy. A few verses earlier, the Israelites are (once again) complaining to Moses that he's going to get them all killed.  The Israelites are now following a pillar of cloud and fire!  They've been encouraged forward by a massive tower of cloud that leads the way and stands, unmistakeable, in front of them. It's easy to follow the fire!  It's easy to follow the power when it's in front of you, and it shines in favor of YOUR TEAM!  But then it changes...

The cloud moves behind them and it becomes dark.  Some translations describe it as a massive storm cloud that lights up the night sky and keeps the camps apart.  So here's me.  "Greaaaaaaat. So much for the pillar.  We're all gonna die.  Thanks a lot, MOSES." (I might be a little Isrealite-ish.) How many times have I lost sight of my pillar?  How many times have I felt like I have no direction, and no idea which way to turn?  How often is the power NOT right in front of us?  

I have those days.  No clue.  I feel so alone.  The love I was travelling with can't be seen, so I question if it's gone.  Then I read the rest of the verse.  The cloud comes around behind us with a great purpose. The pillar of cloud, the "Angel of God" has moved from in front of me, to stand between me and those that would pursue me and enslave me and threaten my life! I was never alone.  I was safe. Protected.  The One that loves me into existence every moment stands guard, whether I can see it or not.  

I am learning to trust that when my pillar is missing from sight, God is actively standing between me and my foes, so that "the rival camps would not come any closer together all night long."  I guess that makes every day a good day to be on God's team.    

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