Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of Israel being led toward the Promised Land, and away from slavery in Egypt.
God knew they’d be easily discouraged, scared, when Egypt came after them. Here’s how God kept them on track:
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. (Exodus 13:21-14:4 ESV)
And here is this visual reminder of God’s presence, a pillar of fire by night, and cloud by day. More than only communicating God’s presence, it gives direction as it travels ahead of them.
If anyone doubted Moses’ leadership, this should have been a sign. If anyone doubted God’s existence, presence or goodness, this should have been a sign.
God is also baiting Pharaoh. He sends the Israelites by a ridiculous route that looks confused and vulnerable. When Pharaoh realizes they are heading for an uncrossable sea, he will be tempted to chase after them and recapture his slaves and livestock.
So far, Pharaoh’s obstinacy has taken many of his people’s lives, including his own son. Pharaoh himself must not have been a firstborn son himself, since he was still alive. But now, God was setting the stage for a final blow against Pharaoh himself.
God knows that Pharaoh letting the Israelites go was a practical decision, made out of grief and panic. He still considered himself a god, and had no respect for the God of the Israelites, as God was about to test.
Question: What mixture of emotions do you think the Israelites would have been feeling in those moments?