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Resurrection And The Leading Of The Spirit — Exodus 13

…For with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.” (Exodus 13:9b)

As we come to the conclusion of Exodus chapter 13, the stage is now set for the realization of God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt into the Land  of promise. After being saved by the blood of the Passover lamb, the Hebrews will be delivered from bondage by the mighty hand of God. Two aspects connected with God’s redemption are seen here in the Old Testament:

Resurrection

And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.” (Exodus 13:19)

Back in Genesis 50:25, Joseph gave instructions to the children of Israel to carry along his bones  into the  Land of promise in the day that God would visit them. Just as his father, Jacob, had before him, Joseph did not wish for his body to stay in the  land of Egypt, but desired for his remains to be taken into the land of Israel, the land that God had promised beforehand (Gen. 47:29).

By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.” (Hebrews 11:22)

Apparently, the instructions for his bones to be taken with the children of Israel when they came into the  Promised Land was not a mere sentimentality but was, according to the writer to the Hebrews, an act of faith. Joseph took God at His word when He promised to give the  land of Canaan as “an eternal possession” to the children of Abraham (Gen. 17:18). Joseph understood that the destiny of the Hebrew people was in the  land of Palestine, not in the  land of Egypt.

Joseph believed that God would one day raise his body and that his body should be in the  Land of Promise when God resurrected it. The idea that God will one day raise His own – that death itself is not permanent for those belonging to the Lord — is not a uniquely New Testament concept. Even Martha, the sister of Lazarus, demonstrated this belief when she told the Lord Jesus that she knew her brother would one day live again (John 11:24).

Resurrection is an inextricable aspect of God’s redemption of man in both the Old Testament and the New. For what lasting hope is there in deliverance from the afflictions of this life if the ultimate destiny of man is death? If our short time on this earth is all that we may look forward to, then what solace may be found in any fleeting joy we might experience in the here and now? Or, as the Apostle Paul put it: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

The image of Moses, God’s instrument of deliverance, exhuming the body of Joseph and carrying it into the  Land of Promise is a perfect portrait of Christ raising the body of the believer at the Rapture. Death could not prevent God’s promise to Joseph from being fulfilled, nor can death separate the Christian from abiding forever with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:38-39).

Leading Of The Spirit

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.” (Exodus 13:21-22)

The imagery and symbolism of the Holy Spirit, leading the Hebrews, cannot be missed here. There went before them a Presence, and that Presence is called the Lord God Himself (Jehovah). The Holy Spirit appears often in Scripture in the form of a cloud. For instance, at the Mountain of the Transfiguration, a bright Cloud appears to the awestruck disciples and the voice of God the Father speaks from within It (Matt. 17:5). In Acts 1:9, a Cloud receives the Lord Jesus Christ at His Ascension, the Cloud of the Presence of God’s Spirit.

Fire is another symbol associated with the Holy Spirit. The most obvious, of course, being the cloven tongues like fire that rested upon the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit was given to the Church (Acts 2:3). Finally, the symbols of Fire and Cloud are tied together with the Holy Spirit in the ordnance of Baptism. As John the Baptist pointed out that Jesus would be the One Who would baptize those belonging to Him with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16), we see a foreshadowing of this in the “baptism” of the Hebrews under this Pillar of Cloud (1 Cor. 10:1-4).

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

Those whom God redeems, God leads. God has never saved anyone only to let them feel around in the dark, hoping to find the path that He wishes them to walk upon. The Lord led the children of Israel by His very Presence, the Holy Spirit. He leads the Christian by the same Means. Though there are distinctions between the Pillar of Cloud and Fire and the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is the same Spirit leading the believer in Christ that led the Hebrews out of Egypt. The Hebrews had the benefit of being led by the visible Presence of God, the Shekinah Glory, manifested in the Pillar. The Christian is led by that “still, small voice”, the invisible Presence of God’s indwelling Spirit. At first glance, the visible Presence would seem to be preferred, yet even so, our Lord told Thomas: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Aside from the distinctions, there are similarities and even lessons that we can learn about the nature of the Holy Spirit’s guidance from His leading of the Israelites. First we see that the Spirit of the Lord went before them. God never leads His people to a place where He has not already been. In that He goes before us, we can be comforted in knowing that He will still be there when we arrive. No matter how terrifying, how dark, how cold and remote the place is where the Lord leads us , He goes there before us.

He leads by night and by day. God neither sleeps nor slumbers (Psalm 121:4), He takes no break from leading His people. The Holy Spirit is available to guide His people at all hours. And, as we are told in Exodus 13:22, God took not away the Pillar from before the people. Though they doubted God and His appointed representative, Moses, though they murmured, complained, and were rebellious at heart, God never removed His Presence from before them. Even the most back-slidden Christian can follow God’s Spirit, if they should choose to. God’s people are not lost and wandering because God is not leading them, but because they have ceased to follow. The Christian who is out of fellowship with the Lord has become so, not because God has stopped leading them, but because they have stopped listening and following.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

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9 responses

  1. QUOTE
    God’s people are not lost and wandering because God is not leading them, but because they have ceased to follow. The Christian who is out of fellowship with the Lord has become so, not because God has stopped leading them, but because they have stopped listening and following.

    VERY TRUE.

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  2. My father had a dear friend. A friend that he had known all his life. From time to time over that lifetime they were separated for long periods of time by distance. His friend became a Pastor and remained so until his death. Once in a while they met at our house or they would meet at his house and our families still remain very close.
    On the occasions that they would meet, they had a custom. They would “break bread together” remembering the Lords death till he comes.
    And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke:22,19-20) This has always been a cherished memory.
    How these two men worked out their relationship with each other is the same as the Lord will work-out with his people. Christ himself says that “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”.(Hbr:13,5) In saving, the Holy Spirit also seals!!! (Eph:4;30)

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  3. What a touching story, Rakau, thank you so much for sharing that :)

    David, in his prayer of repentance, asked that the Lord not take His Holy Spirit from him (Psalm 51:11). This is something that those living under the New Testament in Christ never need to ask. We are sealed by that Spirit of Promise until the Day of Redemption. As you pointed out, He never leaves us…praise be to God!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, God bless you.

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  4. Thank you so much for reading this and taking the time to share your thoughts. May the Lord richly bless you :)

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  5. Thank you, Loren

    “God has never saved anyone only to let them feel around in the dark, hoping to find the path that He wishes them to walk upon. ”
    This morning I woke up praying, hoping and wishing that ‘thorn in the flesh’ that often bothers me would pack up and leave, but comments like this one from you serve as a constant reminder that He has not forgotten me, not has He forgotten His promises to me. Sure, I would want Him to take it, but the reminder that His grace is sufficient certainly helps!

    “God never leads His people to a place where He has not already been. In that He goes before us, we can be comforted in knowing that He will still be there when we arrive. No matter how terrifying, how dark, how cold and remote the place is where the Lord leads us , He goes there before us.”
    Like the wandering Israelites, we often don’t want to go where He leads us, but we have the assurance that He will never leave us on our own. What a wonderful and blessed revelation!

    Thanks for sharing. I have been hopping around blogland a bit this morning and all the posts I’ve read so far speaks of His providence, guidance and presence. What more can I ask for? He answers … even before I ask. Wow!

    Lord, thank you for answering prayers, even when I don’t see the answer I hoped for. I choose to believe that You are in control of all that concerns me. I will trust You for the perfect timing of my Exodus. Amen.

    Blessings to you and yours, Loren. Happy 2012!

    Thankful,
    ann

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  6. What a great post for us as we start into the new year. :) I have trouble with all the goal setting advice. Knowing that He is leading me, is going before me, and that I am not left to wander around and try to figure it out is such a huge blessing. What a God we have! What an adventure life is with Him!
    God bless you as you follow Him wherever He leads you this year, Loren! Thanks so much for blogging!

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  7. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

    I am having a lot of trouble with all of the “resolution” and goal-setting stuff this year, too. It’s not that there aren’t a lot of good tips out there for accomplishing new things in the new year, there are. it’s just that most of them involve trying harder and putting forth more effort on my part. 2011 was a rough year, and I think if I learned anything, it’s to rely more on God and less on my own efforts.

    1 Peter 5:7 is going to be my “life verse” for this year; I want to make it a reality and really learn to keep casting my care on Him. This reminder from Exodus is a great place to reflect at the start of the New Year. Knowing that He is ever going before me sure makes it a lot easier to take each next step :)

    Thanks, Deb, I am looking forward to reading what the Lord is showing you in the coming year!

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  8. “Lord, thank you for answering prayers, even when I don’t see the answer I hoped for. I choose to believe that You are in control of all that concerns me. I will trust You for the perfect timing of my Exodus. Amen.”

    And another amen to that, Ann :)

    “Like the wandering Israelites, we often don’t want to go where He leads us”

    How true that is! In preparation for writing on this portion of Exodus, I have looked again and again at the maps of the path God led the Hebrews on. Wow. I wonder what these people were thinking when their destination was to the Northeast and they took off almost due South! It would be like taking off for New York from Los Angeles and heading straight to San Diego. As the land became more and more arid and the temperatures began to rise higher and higher, well, we see how many of the Israelites responded later on in the journey! But, as you said, knowing that we are going right where he wants us and knowing that he is there with us sure makes the trip a lot more tolerable :)

    Thanks a lot, Ann, for the insightful comments, I look forward to reading your comments and posts in the coming year; what a blessing they are!

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  9. […] Resurrection And The Leading Of The Spirit – Exodus 13 (answersfromthebook.org) Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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