Sermon #12 from "Take Off Your Sandals" series on Exodus for Today
Guidance when pressure mounts.
Based on Exodus 13:17-22
Crossing the Sea
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.[a] The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”[b]
20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
This episode takes place after the people of Israel have departed from Egypt. It's about how God is not only our Savior, but our Guide on life.
1. As you read this story, which verses speak about God "leading" his people? What are some of the ways that he led them?
2. Surprisingly, God did not lead them by the shortest route to the promised land. Why not?
3. There are times when God leads us into the wilderness, rather than the faster way we might expect. Has this ever happened to you?
4. This calls to mind 1 Corinthians 10:13. What insights do we get from this verse?
5. "When God leads you into the wilderness, it's because he has a plan for you." What is God's plan according to Romans 8:28-29?
6. Why did Moses carry the bones of Joseph on this journey? Why was it a step of faith for Joseph to give orders concerning his bones? (See Genesis 50:24-25.) How might the bones of Joseph be of significance on the wilderness journey?
7. "If God leads you into dark times,hold on to his promises, and to your vows." How might this apply to commitments we make in life?
8. Notice that God led the people by means of a pillar of cloud. What do verses 20-23 teach us about God's presence?
9. "God will not lead you where his grace cannot keep you." How will the constant grace of God help the people in their wilderness journey? How might it help with your current journey?
10.We don't have a pillar of cloud to lead us. But what does Jesus promise in John 8:12? What does the Bible promise in Psalm 119:105? In Romans 8:14?
11. What is your take-away from this story?