Ex 13:21 A Pillar of Cloud and of Fire 9/27/2009 ßà
#1. The Way of the Land of the Philistines (Ex 13:17, 3:12, Mal 3:10, Rom 11:6)
#2. The Way of the
wilderness of the
Rom 8:14, Eph 2:10
#3. The Way of the LORD (Ex 13:21-22)
· I will never leave thee nor forsake thee (Heb 13:5-6, Ex 3:12, Deut 8:2-3, Rev 3:21)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 13:17
(2X). After the Lord killed all the first-born in the
12:51 And it came to pass the selfsame
day, that the LORD did bring the children of
The expression, “by their armies” indicates that God considers
this a military operation. Look at this in the historical sense. It was already
a miracle that all the armies of
Psalm 105:37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
God timed it so
perfectly, that there were no feeble persons among the children of
Ex 13:17-22 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God
led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although
that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when
they see war, and they return to Egypt: But
God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red
sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with
him: for he had straitly sworn the children of
We read in verse 18
Today I want us to see
three ways in this passage: #1.
The Way of the Philistines, #2.
The Way of the wilderness of the
#1. The Way of the Philistines (Ex 13:17, Isa 46:9-10, Ex 3:12, Matt 7:13, Mal 3:10, Rom 11:6)
Why did God write Ex 13:17? We read in this verse about God’s decisions as if He was a humanlike leader of this band of former slaves. We read in Ex 13:17,
Ex 13:17 ¶ And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
Is this not strange? Did God let us know what He was thinking? Was God deciding His options? It was God who was leading them, and God knew already where He was taking them. God is not wishy-washy or uncertain about anything. Listen to what God says through the prophet Isa in Isa 46:9-10,
Isa 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Our God knows the
end from the beginning. And so, where was God leading them to? He led them to
Mount Sinai, also called
3:12 And God said, Certainly I will be
with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee:
When thou hast brought forth the people out of
In other words, God
said to Moses: I send you to liberate the children of
That was the shortest route to the
The Israelites have just been delivered, they are not
accustomed to war, they will give up and they will return to
When we have just been saved we are not well equipped to fight giants like these, and then we might end up in churches where they believe that you can have the world and have Christ also. And then we would be in terrible company. Jesus warned for that in Matt 7:13. Listen the words of Matt 7:13,
Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate (Enter at the narrow gate): for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
The Way of the Philistines is equivalent to the broad way of Matt
7:13. The broad way is the gospel that most churches adhere to. It is the
easy way where most people flock to. Who is the Lord Jesus speaking to in Matt
7:13? Well, who is God speaking about in Ex 13:17? There He is speaking to the
#1. They say, Christ
has done all He could and all you need to do is believe in Jesus. Believe in
the miracles He did to heal people of their diseases, and believe that He was
nailed to the cross because the Pharisees were jealous of Him. And believe that
God raised Him from the dead. Believe in the historical Jesus. But Jesus cannot
do anything if you do not cooperate. And they will back this up with Scripture.
#2. They say, Salvation is
like a check that needs two signatures. Christ has already signed the check.
All it needs is your signature. It is a very small thing that you need to do,
but it has great rewards. #3.
They say, All you need to do is come forward and say the sinner’s prayer, and
commit your life to Jesus. Make a promise, that from now on you will follow
Christ wherever He leads you. #4.
They say, All you need to do is be baptized in water and believe that your
baptism saves you, and you will be on your way to heaven. #5. You must be baptized exactly in this way: Over backwards
and dunked under, or else your baptism is not valid. #6. All the sins you committed before your baptism will be
forgiven. All the sins you commit after your baptism will have to be paid in
purgatory. #7. Your salvation
comes in two stages. In the first stage you believe in Jesus, but the second
stage is the work of the Holy Spirit. The evidence of having entered the second
stage is when you speak in tongues, or when God gives you messages in dreams,
or visions, or angel visitations, or when God gives you the power of healing
people from their diseases. #8.
Your salvation has entered the second stage when God showers on you the wealth
you never had before, as God said in Mal 3:10, “I will open to you the
windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be
room enough to receive it”, and so on, and so on. All these
gimmicks have nothing to do with the true Gospel. What do all these different
religions have in common? These are all gospels that require some work that is
done by us. It makes us feel good when we can do something for our salvation.
It makes us feel good when we can retain our self-respect, and we do not have
to think of ourselves as wicked. It makes us feel good when we can look at what
our monetary contribution has done and be proud of it. But all these works
gospels are the warnings that the Lord Jesus gives us in Matt 7. The
But God knows what it takes to get us to Canaan, into the
#2. The Way of the
wilderness of the
It was God who led them all the way. And look now at the contrasts from the previous way. Do we now remember the title of this sermon? Do we remember how God described it in Ex 13:21? It was with: “The Pillar of cloud and of fire” (2X). This is the narrow way of Matt 7:14
Matt 7:14 Because strait (Narrow) is the gate, and narrow (Constricted) is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
In other words, the
Lord Jesus said: Watch out that you do not end up on the broad way, the popular
way, because it is the narrow way that leads unto eternal life. It is the
unpopular narrow way. What is the narrow way? It is The way of the wilderness
13:18 But God led the people about
(Aside), through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the
What is the wilderness of the
Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delighteth in his way.
God chose this way through the wilderness for His people. This was the best way. We read in Rom 8:14
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
We should look at our own life and ask ourselves if we can see that the Spirit of God leads us. We then see that nothing is left to chance. Nothing is left to our own poor reasoning. The grace by which we are saved is also the grace that guides us in this life after we have been saved. We read in Eph 2:10
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
God cares for us, nurtures us, and guides our steps while we are
walking through this wilderness. So, what is the narrow way? It is the way of
salvation and sanctification by grace alone. Christ did it all. He shed His
blood like the lamb without blemish, He sent His Holy Spirit to take us out of
Egypt, the house of bondage, and He guides our way through this life so that Pharaoh,
who is a representation of the Devil, cannot capture us again. And where do we
find this narrow way? In the Scriptures. First of all, we must be among
those who have been chosen by the Father unto salvation, and our names must
have been imprinted in the mind of God the Son. Secondly, the Lord Jesus
Christ, in whom God the Son was incarnate in the Son of Mary, must have
suffered and died on the cross for all whom the Father had given Him. Thirdly,
The Gospel of grace alone must be preached to us, and God the Holy Spirit must
apply this Gospel of grace to our miserable soul with which we came into this
world, and which was dead in trespasses and sins. He then made our soul alive
and cleansed from sin by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy
Ghost. God speaks of this wonderful process of salvation by the Holy Spirit in
various ways. God says in Eph 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse
it with the washing of water by the Word.” This does not refer to the
water of baptism, but to the washing of water by the Word, which means that the
water represents the words of the Gospel that reaches our ears and
simultaneously our soul. God says in Rom 10:17, “So then faith cometh
by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This tells us that
salvation by faith in Christ comes by hearing the Gospel, and the simultaneous
spiritual hearing of it comes by a spoken word of God. God says in John 3:5,
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of
the Spirit, he cannot enter into the
#3. The Way of the LORD (Ex 13:21-22)
Ex 13:21-22 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
It was God Himself, in the presence of a pillar of a cloud by day
and a pillar of fire by night, who led them all the way, for 40 years, until
they finally entered the Promised Land. Why did God appear to
1. The cloud was given as a gracious gift; they did not ask for it (John 14:6, John 6:44)
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Before we became saved, we did not want the Gospel of the Bible and we did not want Christ. There is none that seeketh after God. No, not one! God sovereignly chose to save whom He will.
2. The cloud was not given until they had been
Joh 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
After we have become saved, the Word of God is given to us, and the Book is opened.
Prior to that the Bible was a closed book, which we could not understand.
3. God spoke to them from the cloud (Psalm 99:7)
Ps 99:7 He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.
Christ speaks to us from the Bible, the Word of God.
4. The cloud was given as a guide through their wilderness journey (Psalm 119:105)
Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
The Word of God is given to us to teach us our relationship to God: It tells us how we became saved and how we are expected to live after we became saved.
5. The cloud was given to give them light (John 8:12)
Joh 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Christ is the light of the world. He sent His Holy Spirit to give us light, and life, and understanding in the Word of God.
6. The cloud was all darkness to the Egyptians (1Cor 2:14)
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The natural man cannot understand the Word of God. It is all darkness to him.
7. The cloud was given for a covering, protecting them from the hot sun.(Isa 4:5, Isa 44:22)
Isa 4:5 And
the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of
Isa 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
Christ atoned for our sins; He covered our sins with His blood and He covered us with the robe of His righteousness.
8. The cloud rested upon the tabernacle (Ex 40:33-35, John 1:14)
Ex 40:33-35 And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
9. The cloud was never taken away from them (John 14:15-16)
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
When we have received Christ, He is never taken away from us. We cannot lose eternal life.
Nothing is left to our own chance; nothing is left to our own poor reasoning.
10. The Lord looked through the cloud and judged the Egyptians (John 12:48)
Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
When Christ comes the second time, He comes as the Judge, and He will use the Word of God as a two edged sword to judge all the unsaved.
At home you can look up the references that I have given for each one of
these ten attributes. But now, let us look at the cloud that protected and
These verses are characteristic of the way of the Lord. The cloudy and fiery pillar is a demonstration of those same words. Just remember, God never said those words to Moses, because the cloudy and fiery pillar was always there. But God said those words to Joshua because God took away the cloudy and fiery pillar. We are now in the N.T. age and we have to believe God just like Joshua did. We do not have a tangible evidence of the Lord's presence like a cloudy and fiery pillar. We believe that our God is sovereign. Our God leads us all the way, in our personal life. Not only in our life after He brought us to the Lord Jesus Christ, but also in the life before we became saved, excluding sin of course. Have we ever thought why we are here, worshipping God here in this Church? Our God is sovereign. He brought us here. God made everything work out, such that today we are in this place. We find ourselves in the way of the Lord, because He promised: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee". But that is the same way how God has worked in our life all along. Many of us painfully remember that there were some horrible things that came to pass in our life, or perhaps there are some traumatic events in our life right now. Was God's hand in all of this? Yes it was, excluding sin of course. We do not know why God has put us through the wringer now and then. Could God have prevented that? Of course He could. Our God is sovereign. Now take our eyes off our own self, stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and fix your eyes on the Lord Jesus. Could God have prevented that Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross? Yes He could, but we hate to think of the consequences if God had taken that course of action; for then there would be no salvation. Now, from this we should learn that suffering is part and parcel of this life. Therefore we want to forget our past sins quickly, because God has also forgotten our sins of the past. When Christ paid for our sins on the cross, He promised to forgive and forget. We are also called to forgive and forget. The main point is not, "What occurred in the past?" The main point is: "How do we stand before God today?" We could have been grievous sinners in the past. That was the past. The main point is: "Are we forgiven sinners today?" What sin could we commit that God cannot forgive? Can we look back on our recent history, and can we see if God has done a wonderful work in us? Do we know why we have a fervent desire to be obedient to God's Word? Where did this desire come from? It came from being in the way of the Lord, because He promised: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee". And when we look back on our life we see that He led us all the way.
Likewise, when God
declared to Moses in Ex 3:12, “When thou hast brought forth the people
De 8:2-3 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
And God also says these words of Deut 8 to us. Paraphrased God says to us, “I am the covenant God, the God who heard your groanings, the God who raised up a deliverer for you, the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though you did not see a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire, I was with you all the way, and I shielded you from all the evils that your enemy threw in your way. And I prepared the way that you will enter into my glory in the NH&NE, and I will make sure that you get there. Hold fast till I come. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.