You know, I love being a Christian, really. I’ve been at this about 25 years, now. I’ve come to know God. I know what He does in my life. I’ve felt His protection. I’ve felt His guidance. I understand what my life would be like if I had never met Jesus. Today, I want to look at a moment of history, (The Bible is a history book.), and I want to examine how God works in our lives.
This is the deliverance of
from Israel and their journey through the desert to the Promised Land. Egypt
Exodus 13:21-22 (NKJV)
13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
The Presence of God in our Lives
This is a historical event. This actually happened in history, but it is also a metaphor for what God has done in our lives. It’s a story about
deliverance from slavery and bondage, but it’s also a picture of our
deliverance from sin. Israel
God saw the suffering of sin in our lives. He heard the groaning from Satan’s oppression and He sent a deliverer – Jesus – to deliver us from bondage. Moses is a type of Jesus. That means he’s an Old Testament picture of Jesus. He brought God’s chosen people out of bondage. We are chosen. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16). He brought us out of the bondage of sin.
What’s important about the deliverance of
that God didn’t just deliver them and leave them on their own. His presence was noticeable in their
lives. It could be seen; it could be
felt. It was a pillar of cloud by day and
a pillar of fire by night and our text tells us that God stayed with them. He didn’t abandon them: Israel
“He didn’t take away the pillar of cloud by day, or the pillar of fire by night from the people.”
God was present in their lives to guide them and protect them – And He will be in our lives, as well.
Hebrews 13:5b-6 (NKJV)
13:5 …For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.
God guided them on the journey.
God protected them from Pharaoh’s army.
God provided Manna in the desert.
God gave them water in the desert.
God fought alongside them to win the Promised Land.
God was there for
throughout their journey. You are no
less chosen than Israel as God’s people. Israel
John 1:12 (NKJV)
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
You have been given the right to be the children of God. So, God has chosen you, as well. Like a parent chooses an adopted child. God will also guide, protect, provide, and fight alongside you.
Is there something you can point to and say, “If I didn’t have God, I wouldn’t have this or that in my life?” Maybe your marriage would be a mess. Maybe you wouldn’t have the job that you have. Maybe you wouldn’t have the opportunities that you have now. Those things are the pillars of God in your life. They’re the visible evidence of the presence of God in your life. You should be able to see those things that God is doing and say, “There’s God – God is still there – He’s still guiding me.”
Do you know what, though?
even though there was a tangible presence of God, there: Even though they could look up and see
evidence of God’s presence, they still for got that He was there. They were always complaining: Israel
Sea – You brought us out here to die! At the bitter water – You brought us out here
to die! When they got hungry – You brought
us out here to die!
“Hey look God is here but…”
They had it easy – There was God, cloud, and fire. It’s harder for us, because we don’t have that; we can’t see that. Even though God moved powerfully in our lives, we forget about the mercy and blessing of God.
Let’s face it, things go wrong in our lives; we get sick; we get laid off. There are tragedies in our lives and we forget about God’s presence and what He’s done for us, but God is still there for us.
He Guides and Protects Us!
Exodus 40:36-38 (NKJV)
40:36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of
would go onward in all their journeys. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel , throughout all their journeys. Israel
So, God gave direction and guidance to
. When God moved, they moved. If God didn’t move, neither did they. God orchestrated their movement to the
Promised Land. He brought them out of
the bondage and then guided them to that land of promise. They moved as God did. Israel
We’ve been delivered. God brought us out of the
sin. The problem is that we don’t always
wait for God to move before we move. We
try to anticipate God, “God will want this, maybe not now but in the future.” Or we think for God, “I will make this
happen.” Or God says sat and we go
anyway. Instead of waiting for direction
from God we run off without thought or prayer as to God’s plan, and we can
actually end up at cross-purposes with God; working against Him instead of
allowing Him to work with us. Look at
what the Bible says about waiting on God’s plan: Egypt
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
I’ve said this at least a million times: God has a plan for your life. He knows how to bring it to pass, but the biggest impediment to God moving in our lives is thatwe can’t wait on God’s timing. We want I tall on our timing. We need to let God direct.
Psalms 37:23-24 (NKJV)
37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
There may be struggle and turmoil or even failure, but the scripture tells us that even in the midst of that God will be there.
Exodus 14:19-20 (NKJV)
14:19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of
. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Israel
This is a moment of great danger for
. They’re trapped – The Red Sea is in front of
them and the Egyptian army is bearing down on them. They’re frightened, they’re crying out and God
does something powerful, here. God moves
His position from in front of them to behind in order to protect them. God takes a position in order to trouble Israel . Egypt
Not only is God a leader, but God is also a protector. He’s there for
He fights for Israel . He keeps Israel ’s
enemies from destroying them. Have you
experienced that in your life? Has God
ever stuck up for you? This is one of
David’s prayers: That God would deliver
him and protect him from his enemies. Israel
Psalms 26:1-3 (NKJV)
26:1 A Psalm of David. Vindicate me, O Lord, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. 2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. 3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.
That’s been my prayer before! When enemies have tried to destroy me: When my character and integrity has been assaulted. I’ve cried out that prayer, “Vindicate me God!” God has fought for me. God has helped me. God has troubled my enemies. He took time out from guiding m to protect me, like he did for
at the Israel Red Sea.
God is faithful above all things. We need God’s presence in our lives. We need Hi guidance to bring us to where we need to be. – The
– The Kingdom of God . We also need His protection
to fight for us against the enemy of our salvation. That’s who Pharaoh is in all of this: The
enemy of land of Promise ’s deliverance. Satan plays
the role of Pharaoh in our lives and God will STAND for us. Israel
The Faithfulness of God
Nehemiah 9:19 (NKJV)
Yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, To lead them on the road; Nor the pillar of fire by night, To show them light, And the way they should go.
God was there for them for the entire journey. He didn’t forsake them in the wilderness. This is a hard thing for us, because we always think:
God’s mad at me!
God’s abandoned me!
Where’s God in all of this?
The Bible tells us that God is there: That God will always be there. We can trust God for His guidance and protection.
I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have God’s presence in my life. I can’t see a pillar of cloud or a pillar of fire, but I can see the miracles God has done. The life and testimony that I have is visible evidence of the presence of God in my life. There’s evidence of God’s presence in your life too. I wonder if you can see it. If you can see it, when are you going to trust Him?