This message was part of the ‘Who needs Jesus?’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in autumn 2019. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on Exodus 13:17-22.
Pillars of Cloud and Fire
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” 18 But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.” 20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 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. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.
Following the Fire Means Going God’s Way
- Remember that as the Israelites step out and follow God (and as we follow God) it is not just about the people. It is about God fulfilling his purposes, in his way.
- When we follow God we step into his story and we submit ourselves to his way of doing things.
- Its easy to look back and want things our own way, just as the Israelites did – pining after the ‘comfort’ of Egypt.
- Following God, his power, his purpose and his presence, is to submit to him!
Following the Fire Means Trusting God
- God took the Israelites the long way! His timing is perfect – even when we end up going a different way!
- God knew what was ahead for Moses and the people – what they would face, what their weaknesses were and what they were capable of.
- God knows what is ahead for us too, when we follow the fire things happen in his time.
- Sometimes delay is in God’s plan, sometimes he might alter your pathway or change your plans, test your patience so that you follow and trust him.
Following the Fire Means Looking to the Future
- Leaving Egypt was not just about physical freedom and a happier life, it was about eternal life.
- Following God is an eternal journey, when we follow God death is defeated.
- When we follow the fire of God we submit ourselves to his way of doing things, his timing. We trust that he knows best and we are following him into eternity.