Anglican Morning Devotion for 6 March 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. 19And 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. 20And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. 21And 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: 22He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” (Exodus 13:17-22; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The Bible mentions several different pillars. There was the ‘pillar of salt’ into which Lot’s wife was turned in her disobedience in taking a longing look back at her wicked city of Sodom (like many other sinners who look back at the dog’s vomit); the two pillars of the Temple of Dagon which Samson pulled down and killed many thousands at once; the two pillars of the Temple of Solomon called Jachin and Boaz; and the Pillar of Fire by Night and Cloud by Day of the Lord’s Providence to the Children of Israel in their coming out of Egypt into the Wilderness.
The Pillars of the Temple of the false god (Dagon) were strong in supporting three thousand men on the roof, and covering thousands more in the temple beneath; but only ONE God-inspired man (Samson) was God’s instrument in pulling that temple down around their necks and killing all inside, and all above on the roof. The owner of any Pillar will determine its value. If the Pillar is of God, nothing can stand against it.
The wife of Lot, coveting her possessions left behind in the wicked city of Sodom was transformed into a Pillar of Salt when she looked behind her against the counsel of the angels that led her away from the ruination. She became a Pillar of Infamy for valuing ill-gotten possessions more than life itself.
The Pillars of the Temple of Solomon which he built for the Lord are Jachin and Boaz. These stood at the entrance to uphold all Holy worship and ritual of the people to their true and Almighty God – the Father of Lights, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of all who are of the Elect in Christ.
The pillars mentioned are worthy of note for both their strength (Solomon’s Temple), or for the illustration of the fallacy and foolishness of man’s imagination (the Pillar of Salt and the Pillars of the Temple of Dagon). But the Pillar to which I wish to direct our concentration today is that Mighty Pillar of the Lord which both led and followed the Children out of bondage, and for forty years, in the Wilderness journey. The description of that Pillar appeals to our imagination in understanding the power and beauty of our Lord God.
Note principle text above that tells us God led the Children of Israel by the longer route to the Red Sea by means of His Pillar of Fire by Night, and Pillar of Cloud by Day. He leads always when we hear His Voice and follow without fail. The route may not seem the best, but we trust Him. God makes the way forward; but He does not neglect the Rear Guard either. As Pharaoh’s mighty army drew near against those trapped against the waters of the Sea, and was impinging to destroy them all, we read of this providential intercession of the Mighty Lord: “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them,(the Egyptians), but it gave light by night to these (Israel): so that the one came not near the other all the night.” (Exodus 14:19-20)
LESSON: The Word of the Lord is darkness to the wicked, but Light unto all who believe! God will always stand between His chosen and the enemy.
God is an avenger against the wicked: “That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.” (1 Thessalonians 4:6) He is also a consuming fire against those who would trespass on the righteousness of God: “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29), and, “Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.” (Deuteronomy 9:3) The Lord epitomizes the quality of a great leader. He goes before His armies in breasting the enemy strongholds. When we study God’s Word, we become very familiar with His character, and we KNOW that He will never forsake nor leave us – see Hebrews 13:5. Just as we learn to trust, by and by, a lifelong friend, our Lord is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. He not only walks right beside on the Road to Emmaus, but both leads our advance, and follows our rear echelon.