Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Exodus 13:17-22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The 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 nearer; for God thought, “If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.[a] The Israelites went up out of the land of Egypt prepared for battle. 19 And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph who had required a solemn oath of the Israelites, saying, “God will surely take notice of you, and then you must carry my bones with you from here.” 20 They set out from Succoth, and camped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Today’s reading describes the life of the people in the wilderness after they were freed from slavery in Egypt. What guided them on their way? Here’s what it says in Exodus 13:21-22:
The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
It is a powerful image, isn’t it? God provided for them the kind of guidance and clarity, both day and night, to navigate a strange and difficult wilderness.
Have you had those wilderness times in your life when you yearned for help in finding your way forward? The good news of our faith is that God has provided for us the guidance we need to live abundant lives, even in the wilderness times. As we travel the wilderness way, God travels with us. We don’t travel alone. As we travel the wilderness way, there are fellow-travelers and God has shown us in Jesus how we are to treat and work with our fellow travelers. In all times, but especially in the wilderness times, Jesus is our pillar of cloud by day and our pillar of fire by night.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster