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The Cloud Behind

Words of Faith Final

The Cloud Behind
Words of Faith 11-7-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Exodus 14
[19] Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, [20] coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
[21] Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, [22] and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
[23] The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. [24] During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. [25] He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, "Let's get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt."

The great miracle of Israel's deliverance comes in four movements. First, the Lord led the Israelites into an impossible situation. Second, He called them to move on. The third movement was the piling up the waters on either side while the Lord moved in behind them. It is undoubtedly one of Scripture's most dramatic and remarkable scenes.
Interestingly, passing through water is involved twice in the journey to the land of Promise. The Israelites crossed through water in the deliverance from slavery and then again when they finally entered the land. The Israelites would spend 40 years in the Wilderness learning what it means to worship and trust God. They would learn to walk in what the Lord had accomplished before entering the land of Promise.
There is a clear parallel to our journey in Christ. We are delivered out of slavery to sin when we begin our life with Christ. We celebrate this with water baptism. But it still takes some time for us to learn the walk of faith. In fact, most of our days in this life are spent learning what it means to commune with the Lord and trust in Him. We must learn to walk in the completed work He has accomplished.
For those who like theological words, we might name the deliverance of the Israelites through the Red Sea as an image of "justification." The Lord did this work as a complete act of grace. The Israelites had only to receive it by faith. They had not earned it or deserved it.
The Wilderness is an image of "sanctification." This is the process by which God shapes His people into a holy nation. It is a long process, not accomplished in a day. Entry into the land of Promise is a type of "glorification," our ultimate rest in Christ with the Lord.
We may often wonder why our lives have dry times, battles, or struggles. It is because we still walk in the Wilderness. The Lord is shaping us into the image of Christ. We are learning to walk in the victories He has won for us. It is the training ground of faith and shaping by the Spirit.
Interestingly, the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud was still in front of them to lead but the angel was in back of them between the Israel and the army of Egypt. There was darkness so that neither went near the other all night long. Why was this?
One reason for this separation was that the Egyptian army could not advance against Israel. God "covered their flank." But another reason was that the Israelites could not retreat into the hands of their enemies. We humans have this tendency. In frightening times we often think we know best and actually bolt into the hands of the enemy.
The cloud behind us is a powerful image and a reminder that though we may suffer setbacks, the Lord is there to prevent our retreat into ultimate disaster.
Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-30).

Dear Lord, thank You for delivering me. Thank You for watching my flank and protecting me from disastrous retreat. Give me faith to trust You in this journey. Give me joy in the Wilderness. Make me into the person You dreamed I would be. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.