Summary: God is an able guide in all circumstances.


Numbers 9.15-23

S: God’s Presence (Pillar of Cloud & Fire)

C: Following God

Th: Choose the Fire


?: How? How do we know this?

KW: Directions

TS: We will find in our study of the pillar of cloud and fire three directions God gives us with His Presence.

Type: Propositional

The ____ direction is…




PA: How is the change to be observed?

• Trust God, no matter what the circumstances.

• Be ready for a challenge.

Version: ESV

RMBC 06 April 08 AM


1. If only God would appear to me…

Have you ever thought that?

If He would just show up, then I would believe Him like no one else.

I’d do anything for Him.

Ever said anything like that?

If God did appear to you, what would He look like?

The slide here is from the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

It is a painting by Michelangelo of God creating the sun and moon.

If God were to come to you, is that what you think He would look like?

Would He be old or young?

Would He be stern or loving?

Would He be demanding or compassionate?

Would He be tall or short?

What color would He wear?

ILL God (H)

Film clip from Evan Almighty:

Let me set up this film clip we are about to see from Evan Almighty. Evan Baxter, a newscaster from Buffalo, has been elected to Congress. His campaign theme has been, “Change the World.” The night before he heads off to Congress, he prays to God to help him change the world.

As he gets up in the morning, Evan’s General Electric clock goes off at 6:14. What is significant here is the lights on the clock only show the first three letters from the company name – GEN (you should get that). After a series of coincidences, he gets the hint and reads the passage in Genesis, which is Noah’s assignment to build an ark.

As a matter of warning, there might be one phrase in here that you might not like, but don’t let it distract you from the message that is here.

As this scene begins, a truck drops off wood in his driveway and Evan goes outside to try to stop it.


I think there is a lesson here that is biblical.

If God were to appear to you, do you think it would be as you expected?

You are right if you say “no.”

Whenever God appears, it is not in an expected way.

Over the last two months, we have been studying Exodus and have seen the children of Israel make their way out of Egypt and toward the Promised Land.


2. God appeared to the children of Israel via a pillar of cloud and fire.

It was by this pillar, that the people were led.

It was a guide for both day and night.

By the day, it appeared as a cloud in contrast with the light of the sun.

By night, it was a fiery splendor.

It never changed its nature, whether cloud or fire.

All the time, it was God’s literal presence.


The people had a choice in all of this.

They could follow it, or not.

They could follow God’s leading, or reject it.

And we have the same option…

3. We, too, can “choose the fire.”

That’s our theme for this series of messages, “Choose the Fire.”

Today, it means to choose God’s presence.

Is that something you are doing?

Are you accepting and receiving God’s presence and involvement in your life?

I encourage you to do so, because He is an able guide, no matter what the circumstances.

As we continue this morning, note how He guides, for…

4. We will find in our study of the pillar of cloud and fire three directions God gives us with His Presence.


The first direction is…

I. WAIT (Exodus 14.19-20)

5. When the pillar led the Israelites to the Red Sea, it was time to stop and trust.

Do you remember this part of the story?

God has led the children of Israel away from Egypt.

They have followed the pillar of cloud and fire, to the south, then to the east, and then back to the north.

This has been a confusing set of directions.

For they have reached a dead end.

Their backs are to the sea, and now pharaoh is returning with his army.

The scenario is grim.

They believe that they are dead men.

Notice what the text says…

Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.

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