Summary: verse-by-verse

Have you ever found yourself driving in such bad weather that you had to pull over because you couldn’t see where you were going? You know like in fog, rain or snow?

[Running over sign in Chicago snow storm story.]

It’s hard to know where you’re going when you can’t see. Well, sometimes we find ourselves in a ‘spiritual fog’ and we can’t seem to find our way through life or a certain stage in life. We can’t really see where we’re going but don’t stop to get our bearings.

[Ferdi “I can’t hear God” comment on Facebook story.]

Many people find themselves like this. They find themselves feeling like they’re on their own in this world and they have no direction from God. Even people of faith can find themselves stumbling around in the dark times of life with no real direction.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. God is here to guide us through every area of life if we will simply recognize and follow His leading. God didn’t save our souls and leave us to struggle through life alone. He’s here and will lead us every day if we’ll let Him.

The ancient nation of Israel had the same privilege that we have today. They were able to be led by the God of the universe as they left Egypt for the promised land. So as we look at how they followed the Lord it will help us as we make our own journey to the promised land. And the first thing we need to do is to:

I. Remember what God has done

[Read Exodus 13:1-2.]

These verses introduce the entire passage’s idea that our lives belong to the Lord. When we understand that and act upon it, then we’re able to fully follow the Lord.

[Read Exodus 13:3-10.]

The Lord again reminds them of how they needed to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover once they were in the promised land. This was a memorial of the exodus for the glory of God.

1. Representative – unleavened bread, (sin cleared out, haste of departure)

2. Yearly – for every generation of Jew

3. Inspirational

This was a feast with lots of symbolism that would direct their minds and their worship to the Lord who had delivered them from their enemies. To the Lord who had given them a new life! This was a celebration solely for Him! It would inspire the adults to worship God and it would inspire the kids as their parents explained to them what they were doing and why.

Now as I mentioned last week, over the years the Jews would forget that their religious acts were to remind them of who God was and how He saved them. They started to believe that the acts themselves were salvific instead of being symbols of what God had done.

They started wearing phylacteries which are small pouches containing paper with verses on them bound upon your forehead and upper arm. They get this from verses in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

[Read Deuteronomy 6:8 and 11:18.]

In Jesus’ day He even rebuked them for doing this because they were using it as a way of ‘showing off’ about just how spiritual they were. (Or thought they were.)

[Read Matthew 23:5.]

But God wasn’t asking them to do this. This was meant as a metaphorical expression of a worshipful attitude that comes from holding the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

[Read Exodus 13:9-10.]

The “it” in verse nine refers to the feasts – not some pouch strapped to your hear. When you celebrate the feasts as an expression of your faith your hands symbolize the preparation of the meals, your forehead symbolizes how the feasts will draw your mind towards the Lord and as a result God’s Word will come forth from your mouth. The Feast was meant to be a memorial to the Lord so people would never forget who He is and what He has done.

We have many ways today that we can memorialize what the Lord has done for us.

- Baptism

- Communion

- Journal

- Write your testimony in your Bible

- Pictures

[T-shirts on youth room wall.]

We should do things on a regular basis that help us remember what God has done for us. Let’s just make sure they remind us to worship Him and don’t become just some meaningless ritual we do.

Because hopefully, when we remember what God has done, we’ll devote our lives to Him. That’s the next thing the Lord instructed them to do.

II. Devote yourself to the Lord

[Read Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16.]

The Lord told Israel that since He killed all the firstborn of their enemy and since He graciously saved all their firstborn, the firstborn of Israel belonged to Him and should be consecrated or set aside for service. It was to be another way of remembering what God had done for them and how they had been redeemed.

That word redeemed means to purchase at a cost. Their redemption in Israel came at the cost of a spotless lamb that was slain on their behalf. This was something that they were to continue to do whenever they had their first son born into a family. They were also to do this when their donkey had it’s first male offspring. This would continue to remind them of the price paid for their safety.

Now this passage is both encouraging and humbling all at the same time. I mean, God shows us that we can be redeemed, but He also compares us to donkeys.

A donkey was considered to be an unclean animal. A donkey is also a stubborn animal. And in verse thirteen, both man and beast needed the same redemption.

[Read Exodus 13:13.]

We humans are like the donkey in the sense that we are unclean because of our sin and sometimes we are so stubborn. But redemption is available for us because Jesus Christ, the ultimate Passover lamb, has died on our behalf. He has paid our price!

Just like the Jews were to devote themselves in this practice, we should devote ourselves to the One who has redeemed us by His own blood.

[Read I Corinthians 6:19-20 and Romans 12:1-2.]

You know, sometimes when you find out what a person does for a living you wonder why they would have chosen such a career path.

- doctor specializing in colon issues, (parent died of colon cancer)

- police officer, (friend killed by gang violence)

- teacher, (impacted by a teacher while in school)

We get passionate about things that have impacted our personal lives. And no one’s impacted our lives as much as Jesus has. And when we remember what God’s done for us how can we not be fully devoted to Him? I mean, where would we be without Him? He deserves our complete devotion for without His redemption we’re on our way to an eternity in hell.

So we ought to remember what God has done for us and then fully devote ourselves to Him. Once we’ve done that, we can then better:

III. Follow His leading

Let’s go back to the passage and see what following the Lord was like for the Jews.

[Read Exodus 13:17-22.]

Now I’ve seen a representation of the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire in movies, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the real thing. I mean to see the very presence of God every day and every night must have been quite an awe-inspiring thing. But God wanted the people to know that He was with them and that He could be trusted in this new journey of theirs.

There’s many things we can see about the character of God by the way He led the Jews:

1. Evident – He can be seen

2. Assuring – Seeing the presence of God every day must have so assuring to the


3. Constant – Any time day or night God was there.

4. Instructive – God would speak to Moses from the cloud and give instructions for the


5. Protective – In later chapters we’ll see God actually protect the nation by His

presence in the cloud.

6. Guiding – It goes without saying that God led them exactly where they needed to go.

And this had a great affect on the people because we can see their response to Him:

1. Obedience, v1 - They followed God on the route that He chose which wasn’t the most direct route to Mt. Sinai. Of course, He knew they weren’t ready for war, so He led them the long and safe way instead of the short and dangerous way.

2. Orderly journey, v18 – martial array refers more to the formation of the people as they journeyed, not that they were dressed for battle. At this point they might not have had many weapons or armor. But it does show that they weren’t leaving Egypt in some sort of mad panic. They followed God in an orderly fashion.

3. Faithfulness, v19 – Just like Joseph had requested hundreds of years earlier, the people took his bones with them to bury in the promised land.

[Read Genesis 50:24-25, reference Joshua 24:32.]

4. Constant journey, v21 – they traveled day and night at times constantly following the Lord, because He was always there to lead them.

What a lesson for us! When we recognize God as the evident, assuring, constant, instructive, protective and guiding One, we should respond with to Him with our obedience, we should respond in an orderly fashion, we should respond with faithfulness, and we should follow Him constantly!

[Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and John 8:12.]

The same God who powerfully, personally and lovingly led the Jews out of Egypt is here to guide our every step. We might feel like we’re in the wilderness and a heavy fog has come in to obscure our travel. But God is always here to light our path.