Scripture: Exodus 13:17-22 | John 8:12-14
I. God’s light will lead you to a place of testing.
A. Why did God have Israel take the scenic route home? “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt” (vs. 17). Israel had been slaves for 400 years. They had no trained army. Nor was their faith in God strong enough to handle a battle. Israel needed to be made stronger through the testing of their faith. God led Israel by a miraculous light. The light changed its appearance by day and by night from a pillar of cloud to a pillar of fire (vs. 21-22).
B. By the time we get to Exodus 14 it must have seemed like God had led Israel into a trap. The Red Sea was in front of them. And then Pharaoh and Egypt pursued them from behind. Why did God lead Israel here? Because the truth is this: God helps those who cannot help themselves. And God helps His people when there is nothing they can do, no chance for escape. God leads you to difficult places to test your faith just like He tested Israel’s faith at the Red Sea.
II. God’s light will lead you to a place of dependence and trust.
A. Moses tells the Israelites to simply depend on God (Exodus 14:13-14). Trust God. That’s the plan. There was nothing Israel could do. And there was nothing Israel needed to do. Do nothing. Be a spectator. Watch God win the battle over your mighty enemy for you. God will fight for Israel. God and God alone will save Israel. Are you in a place where only God can save you? Why? To gain glory for His Name. To show you His salvation. To grow your dependence on Him.
III. God’s light will lead you to Jesus.
A. “The salvation of the LORD” (vs. 13) is “Yahweh-Yeshua” in Hebrew. Moses said then, “You will see Yeshua.” The Hebrew name Yeshua in English is Jesus. Moses told Israel, “You will see Jesus.” The salvation of God is bound up in a person and that person’s name is Jesus. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). How does Jesus lead you today? Through the person of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
B. The pillar of fire led Israel to life. It led Israel through the Red Sea and to the other side. The light would not let them die. And this is what Jesus does for us. John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” And Jesus is the messianic great light that was promised in Isaiah 9:2: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
Rejoice in the presence of the light of the world that leads you home.
“The Lamb of God” by Nancy Guthrie | Commentaries by D.A. Carson, T.D. Alexander, and Tim Chester
Sermon Discussion Questions
- Why is it exciting to think that the God of the pillar of fire still guides us today by the Holy Spirit?
- Does God always lead us to places we want to go? Why is it good that God leads us to these difficult places?
- What is the significance of the fact that Jesus said “I am the light of the world” at the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles? What was Jesus trying to get across to his listeners about His identity?