Exodus 13:17-14:4

Key Verse(s):

Exodus 13:22 (HCSB)

22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people.


The journey of the Israelites to the promised land begins. There are three things to note in this passage:

  1. God is not yet done with Pharaoh and Egypt. He has plans to glorify Himself even more, for the benefit of even more, through the actions and decisions of Pharaoh. (Exodus 14:4) There are plenty of times when we might think God is “done”, but He is not. It just takes our obedience, like Moses’, to be a part of those plans.
  2. God delays blessings sometimes for our own good. Exodus 13:17 tells us the land of the Philistines was nearby, yet God takes the Israelites in another direction. And it is because God knows what is best for us. The end of the verse says God knows the Israelites simply are not ready. How often do we give up on God because we think He is holding out, or not acting, when in fact He is delaying for our own good?
  3. Exodus 13:22 says the pillar of smoke and fire, that lead the Israelites by day and night, “never left its place in front of the people.” Think about that. The pillar was never behind them, or alongside them. It was in front, leading them, they followed. I think sometimes we treat God like a partner, like we are sort of like equals, or God is in the passenger seat: God suggesting some stuff, like when and where to turn, but us deciding whether or not those are good ideas. And then sometimes we stick God in the back seat, only looking back and listening when we are completely lost. But that’s not what the pillar is about, God is the one to lead and be followed, the one that is trustworthy. Doesn’t mean following Him is easy, the Israelites are out in the wilderness wandering after all, but it means we are in His will and plan, and there is no better place to be.


Lord, thank You for being a pillar of smoke in the day, and a pillar of fire in the night, leading us at all times on the path You have for us. I pray for the eyes to see You, the feet to follow You, the patience to stop when You command it, and the strength to go when You do. Amen.


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